Ukrainian Easter

Easter Egg Tradition and History


Easter, the most glorious and radiant event in all history, commemorates the resurrection of Christ.

With the ringing of the church bells at midnight on Saturday, the joyful Easter Matins begin. the triumphant resurrection service begins with procession around the church. Temporarily, the darkened church is emptied and the doors are closed, representing the closed tomb of Christ. The procession circles the church three times, symbolizing the journey of the morning to anoint his body.

The visit to the empty sepulchre by the women is climaxed when the risen Saviour is seen and recognized. Here the pries greets the worshippers with the traditional words. “Christ is Risen”. The people respond with ” He is indeed Risen”. The church bells peal, the worshippers re-enter the church and the Easter service proceeds to its joyful competion. The royal gates are kept open the entire Easter week to symbolize that the gates of Heaven have been opened to all faithful believers.

It is the custom to exchange or give Easter eggs (Pysanky) with the Easter greeting, “Krystos Voskres” to which the reply is “Voistyno Voskres”.

Immediately after the service, people return home to break the long fast with an Easter breakfast of consecrated or blessed food. The menu consists of boiled eggs, a variety of hot and cold meats, roast suckling pig, cheese, salads, horseradish and beet relish, and delectable Easter breads and pastries.

The meal begins with Easter grace, followed by a ceremonious service of the blessed egg, which the elder head of the family divides into portions, one for each person, again with the greeting of Easter. This ritual symbolizes family unity and expresses hope for a happy and prosperous year until next Easter.

Traditional Foods for the Blessing of the Easter Baskets

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Meat products – ham, roast pork, lamb
  • Kolbassa – sausage
  • Butter
  • Cheese or egg-cheese
  • Fresh horseradish root
  • Salt
  • Paska Babka
  • Pysanky

Easter Dinner would include all the of the above Blessed Foods, plus a selection of the following:

  • Holubtsi
  • Mashed potatos & gravy
  • Pyrohy
  • Vegetables
  • Salads
  • Studenetz
  • Tortes or Cheesecakes
  • Beverages