11
Jun-2013

Ukraine Easter Holiday – Eggs, Easter bread and the baskets

We are back! Past few weeks we have been busy preparing for the summer season, arranging the stays for our guests from Australia, Canada, France, and other countries, and finally – celebrating Easter holiday! Traditional Ukraine Easter holiday celebrations are always a curious mix of religious and pagan customs. Very different from the traditional chocolate eggs and Easter bunny, Ukrainians somehow managed to keep up the ancient traditions of blessing Easter baskets, performing ancient ritual dances and painting Easter eggs with wax and candles (way more complex than you probably expect!)

So, with our team back to work and the delicious smell of paska (traditional Easter bread) coming out from our own Easter basket, we’d like to share with you some snapshots of what Ukrainians did this year for Easter day. Enjoy!

What we did for Easter

On Saturday, the day before Easter, we started our day with making traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs. Some people choose to paint the eggs one color only, using traditional natural dyes. But we decided to make the real thing and painted our Easter eggs using ancient technique with wax and candles.

Easter egg painting

 

We won’t go into the endless details of the whole process. You can read more traditional Easter egg painting in Ukraine in this wonderful post from Katie Going Global.

 

Of course, we can’t compete with the generations of traditional egg painters in the village of Kosmach – by far our favorite place in Ukrainian Carpathians. These amazing ladies spend many days during the year, painting most delicate and intricate Easter eggs, using the same techniques and approaches that their ancestors did hundreds of years ago!

Easter eggs master class

 

And oh boy, you can see how awesome the results are! Here’s just one of their beautiful creations. If you’d like to learn from the masters themselves and take a trip back in time to this Hutsul village of Kosmach, join our Egg- Painting Workshops in Ukrainian Carpathians.  We’d be glad to introduce you to this incredible art and help you make the best Ukrainian souvenir you can get!

Celebrating Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

After the Easter egg painting fun, our Saturday continued with the tradition of blessing Easter egg basket. As the custom goes, 40 days before Easter all Ukrainians take up a strict fast, and avoid eating meat or dairy. Easter basket becomes the culmination of the lent, and is the most mouth-watering breakfast for the Easter morning, when all the delicacies are allowed once again.  We won’t tell you how tasty the sweet Easter bread  – paska – is. Just make sure to come over and join us in the festivities for the next 2013 year!

Easter in Ukraine - Easter basket - Tour to Ukraine
Active Ukraine team’s home village in Ukraine disappointed us with the rainy weather, so no snapshots from our own Easter basket blessing, but our Hutsul friends from the village of Kosmach had definitely more sunshine! Here’s some of their photos.

Traditionally, all Easter baskets are spread out on the ground in front of the church, and the priest walks around, sprinkling holy water on all the basket delicacies.

Easter basket blessings in Kosmach

Ukrainians believe that this brings health and prosperity to the household, so we take our time to make sure that our basket is the most impressive one and has a bit of everything from our favorite foods list.

kosmach basket - Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

On Sunday, after the church and delicious Easter branch straight from the basket, we headed to Lviv – Ukraine’s most charming city, in order to join the festive celebrations in the city park. Even though Lviv met us with some gloomy weather again (what’s up with winter this time?!), the city was gorgeous as usual, with the impressive Easter egg – pysanka – towering on the UNESCO-listed Rynok Square.

Lviv - Central Square - Pysanka

Easter afternoons are commonly spent playing in the parks, performing traditional spring dances and enjoying the day out with the community. Everyone tries to dress up in authentic clothes, special for the region…

Hayivky in Lviv - Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

…joins in with the fun and ancient dance rituals, dutifully passed on from generation to generation…

spring dances on Easter day - Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

…(don’t worry – men get to jump as well in some fun traditional Easter challenge games!)…

men challenges on easter lviv - Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

…and simply enjoys being a part of this wonderful holiday!

Easter Rooster - Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

No photos can pass on the charm, fun and excitement of Easter in the villages and small towns of Ukraine! So we’ll leave you with another photo of our hand-made Easter eggs (as you can see now – we love to brag :))…

Easter eggs in Ukraine - Pysanky in Ukraine - Easter in Ukraine - Tour to Ukraine

…and invite you to come visit us in Ukraine – Europe’s last off-the-beaten track!

Over to you!

How did YOU celebrate the Easter day? What are traditions common to your country? And of course – which of our Easter eggs is your favorite? 🙂 We’d love to hear from you in the comments! Shares and re-posts are also welcome!

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