Easter (Russian: Пасха)

Pascha (or Paskha)  is the fundamental and most important festival of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Every other religious festival on their calendars, including Christmas, is secondary in importance to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is reflected in rich Paschal customs in the cultures of countries that have traditionally had an Orthodox Christian majority. Eastern Catholics have similar emphasis in their calendars, and many of their liturgical customs are very similar. This is not to say that Christmas and other elements of the Christian liturgical calendar are ignored. Instead, these events are all seen as necessary but preliminary to, and illuminated by, the full climax of the Resurrection, in which all that has come before reaches fulfilment and fruition. They shine only in the light of the Resurrection. Pascha (Easter) is the primary act that fulfils the purpose of Christ's ministry on earth—to defeat death by dying and to purify and exalt humanity by voluntarily assuming and overcoming human frailty. This is succinctly summarized by the Paschal troparion, sung repeatedly during Pascha until the Apodosis of Pascha, which is the day before Ascension:


Christ is risen from the dead,

Trampling down death by death,

And upon those in the tombs

Bestowing life!

Христос воскресе из мертвых,

Cмертию смерть поправ,

И сущим во гробех

Живот даровав.

Russian Orthodox churches herald in the glorious event with a service, beginning at midnight on Pascha Sunday. After the service, proclaiming Christ's Resurrection, Easter baskets are blessed and shared. This signifies the end of the Great Lent, a forty day period of fasting.

Holiday fare includes Pascha, which is adorned with crosses made of raisins. The Pascha is served with Easter sweet bread, or kulich, which is accompanied by vivid red colored hard boiled eggs. Red is symbolic of Easter and beauty.

 The main course of the traditional Pascha dinner is lamb or ham. Easter is a holiday for visiting friends and relatives. The traditional greeting is, Христос воскресе! (Christ is risen!), to which one would respond, Воистину воскресе! (Christ is truly risen!).


Dates for Easter

2010      April 4

2011      April 24

2012      April 15

2013      May 5

2014      April 20

2015      April 12

2016      May 1

2017      April 16

2018      April 8

2019      April 28

2020      April 19