Christians all over the globe celebrate Easter with great zeal and enthusiasm. It is celebrated in order to commemorate the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion. Though Easter has lots of common rituals across the world, there are also many varieties in the way Easter is celebrated in different parts of the world. The differences can be mostly observed in the celebration of Western Christians (Protestants and Roman Catholics) and Eastern Orthodox Christians. Russia, predominantly an Eastern Orthodox Country follows different rituals from most of the western nations. Read on to explore more about the Easter of the Eastern Orthodox Christians in Russia.
Easter in Russia is celebrated according to the rituals laid down by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Apart from differences in rites and rituals, the bone of contention between Western Christians (Protestants and Roman Catholics) and the Eastern Orthodox Christians is the date of Easter celebration. In determining the vernal equinox, the Eastern Church uses the Julian calendar while the Western Church employs the Gregorian calendar which creates about 13 days difference between the two. The Eastern Church calculates it from March 21 by their calendar, which lies April 3 by the Gregorian calendar.
Moreover, whereas Western Churches hold Easter sunrise services, in Russian Orthodox Church Easter services last all through Saturday night. The congregation gathers in the church or cathedral on Saturday evening and takes part in an Easter vigil commemorating the buried Christ. Orthodox churches in Russia have an inner sanctuary away from the reach of worshipers, and only to the access of the priest. On this day, the door is closed till midnight but at the stroke of midnight, the priest opens the door and comes out saying "Christ is risen! Christ is risen! Christ is risen!" and after hours of silent anticipation, the worshippers rely back “He is risen indeed!"
Another interesting Easter ritual in Russia is the Easter egg decoration. Easter egg decoration is an important part Easter traditions in Russia. The predominant color for egg dyeing in Russia is red. The red dye is chosen because it symbolizes the blood of Christ. Furthermore, people crack the eggs open using nails, in order to remind themselves again of the death of Christ. Another integral aspect of Easter celebrations in Russia is the family Easter dinner which is a community affair at the Church itself. The Easter dinner is a sumptuous feast, in which the entire congregation celebrates together. Russian people traditionally bake Easter cakes, known as "kulich," and make curd paskha and bring it to church along with them and asked the priest to bless it before they share it together in the community celebrations.