21 April 2014

Easter is the most important celebration of Christendom. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. In principle, this is the same celebration for Catholics / Protestants and Orthodox . But since the schism of 1054 and the separation of the two churches, traditions and customs for Easter have  been developed differently!

First of all, for the date of Easter is set to the first Sunday after the full moon after March 21 which, according to the reference calendar , often gives different day of celebration for Western and Orthodox Churches . Indeed, the Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian , as Catholics. And this year, the West will celebrate the same day as the Orthodox !

In Christian countries , the Easter egg is a favorite Easter Day gift. Eggs or other forms in chocolate are offered to the whole family . In Russia, too, they paint eggs , mostly red. The tradition is to exchange these eggs.

During the day Orthodox Christians greet each other with the exclamation Христос воскресе ! ( Christ is risen! ) and Воистину воскресе are answered ! ( He is risen indeed !) .

Why eggs ? The Church,  in the fourth century introduced the prohibition of eating eggs during Lent and hens continued to lay the eggs since the beginning of Lent – were not eaten – were then decorated and delivered. Nowadays , fasting is not strictly required but also the tradition of giving eggs , including chocolate , remained .

And don’t forget the famous eggs of  Fabergé ! Between 1885 and 1916, the Tsars Alexander III and Nicolas II ordered fifty-four of these stunning objects to offer to  tsarines Marie and Alexandra Feodorovna on the occasion of Easter . We know forty-seven today. Each of them has a hidden “surprise” inside,cleverly engineered . Each egg is a masterpiece of ingenuity!

In Russia , in addition to traditional eggs , there are a ” Kulish ” an easter bun and paskha ( based cheese) ! And the easter eve, the Kulish and eggs are taken to the church to be shared. In France for example, it is customary to eat a lamb for Easter dinner because  of « the blood of the lamb saved the firstborn » (according to the Bible) .

Finally, in part, cultural differences, Easter remains the same celebration! An opportunity to meet, share a meal, and offer something!

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