Easter in Belarus
Next to Christmas, Easter is the oldest and most important Christian holiday.
More than three quarters of all Belarusians are Orthodox Christians. This year, Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on May 2.
On the Saturday evening before Easter, the faithful go to church for the service, which lasts all night until morning.
Traditionally, the symbols of Easter are the so-called kulich (Easter cake) and painted eggs. These dishes are consecrated in the church during the service on the eve of Easter and brought home.
Easter cakes are traditional baked goods based on yeast. They are baked according to special recipes and beautifully decorated. Unlike the usual yeast dough, other ingredients are added to the dough for the kulich: butter, eggs, sometimes cream instead of milk. This keeps the kulich fresh for a long time.
The Easter egg is a sign of new life. Orthodox people usually paint Easter eggs red, this tradition has been around for centuries. There is a legend from the Gospel of John that Mary Magdalene brought an Easter egg as a gift to the Roman Emperor Tiberius to announce the resurrection of Christ. Tiberius replied that no one could be brought back to life, just as a white egg could not suddenly turn red. And in the same second the egg turned red.
Cakes and painted eggs take a place of honor on the festive table. The morning meal after a strict fast is an important moment in the celebration of Easter.