Easter (Paskha or Velykden) is the main orthodox holiday in Ukraine. In Christian Church "Easter" got a special sense to religious people and started to signify a transition from death to life and from ground to sky.
People are preparing for Easter 7 weeks of the Lent, and during the last week the most severe one on "Holy Thursday" they obligatory bathe in a cold water with an aim to water off all sins and on "Holy Friday" do not do neither housework because of exactly on Friday Christ was crucified. The night before Easter is the most important and solemn, in all churches there are festive Eucharist.
Most of the folk festivals traditionally start with Easter evening. The most favorite entertainments (some of which may continue up to a fortnight) for Easter are:
• circular chains, that are called "haivki" in the west of Ukraine;
• playings on swings;
• games and contests.
All festivals are followed by special custom to break hard boiled Easter eggs and to kiss three times. It is a traditional Easter heritage that came from Old Slavonic Church.
In Ukraine it is also traditional to paint eggs with different techniques: "pysanka", "krashanka", "skrabanka".
The main theme of Krashanka painting is the floral ornament together with pictorial elements: trees, river, sun, houses and birds. Traditional motives and stories were images of a cock or a hen, sun and others. In Soviet times it was forbidden to celebrate Easter and to create painted eggs, but people did it anyway and the traditions have been kept till nowadays.
Read: Folk and Historical Parks of Ukraine
One of the most beautiful and traditional game and performance for Easter is called "bitky". Sitting at the table one needs to hit someone’s Krashanka (Pysanka) with his/her own one, those whose eggs are cracked the first, lose this game.
During the whole week after the holiday it is traditionally natural to visit relatives and friends, to present them Krashanky or Pysanky (painted eggs), to serve closest people with Paska cake and other delicious dishes. Easter week finishes by the day of commemoration, when many people visit cemeteries to remember their forefathers.
If you want to try traditional Ukrainian cuisine and taste Traditional Easter food in Ukraine, you can try to cook something thanks to the following recipes:
Whatever the culinary food was on the table but traditionally the lunch started with Paska cake.
Milk 200g r.
Flour 1 kg.
Yeast 60 gr.
150 gr. of butter
350 gr. of sugar
100 gr. of sour cream
2 slices of lemon
100 gr. of raisins
Vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg
Topping and decorations
Mix all ingredients in the given order and thoroughly pat the kneaded cake. Then put to the plate cover with a towel, put into the warm place and wait till it rises. After 50-60 minutes pat it again.
Then, break it into molds (they are pre-laid with baking paper, you will need 5-6) and put in the oven at 200 degrees for 20-30 min.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, during this time prepare the glaze (we advise you to take it already ready as a powder and just stir with water). Dip the cakes in the glaze and sprinkle with ornaments. It will be amazingly tasty!
Curd Paska (in Central Ukraine also known as Kulich):
800 gr of home-made cottage cheese
100 gr of butter
2 glasses of powdered sugar
0.5 cup of sour cream
1 cup of chopped almonds
1 cup of raisins
Raisins pour with boiling water for 20 minutes. Rub the cottage cheese through a sieve several times. Add sour cream and mix. Rinse the room temperature oil with sugar powder to a uniform consistency, adding up 1 egg. The resulting mass is combined with cottage cheese, raisins and almond.
Pour the cottage cheese into a special form, pound it, cover it with a load and leave it for 1 day. Periodically drain the liquid. In a day you can serve Curd Paska.
Still the table of Ukrainians for Easter holiday is served not only from Easter cakes and eggs. It is also rich for fish and meat. Some of incredibly delicious recipes are given below:
Carp with onion, baked in a salt dish
2 kg of rock salt
1 medium sized carp
2 onion bulbs
1 bunch of dill
2 spoons of Vegetable oil
Divide the carp, remove the gills and eyes. Cut onion into half rings and fry in vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes. Rub carp with pepper. Put onions and a few slices of lemon in the abdomen. Pour half of the salt onto the bottom of the mold. Lay out the fish and sprinkle it with lemon juice and pour the remaining salt. Smooth, sprinkle with water from the spray gun and bake in a preheated 180 degree oven for 1 hour. Ready fish you can decorate with dill and serve.
Easter pork knuckle with honey
Pork knuckle - 1 kg,
onion - 2 pcs.,
dark beer - 1 bottle,
soy sauce - 5 tablespoons,
honey - 2 tablespoons,
ginger root, sweet pepper, bay leaf, cloves, black pepper and garlic.
Wash and clean a pork knuckle then boil in a small amount of salted water for 4 hours.
Add the onion, clove, bay leaf, sweet pepper and ginger.
Cooked meat marinate for 2-3 hours in a mixture of dark beer, honey, soy sauce and chopped garlic.
You can also add spices to taste (grated ginger, black pepper).
Bake the knuckle for 1.5-2 hours, putting on it remaining marinade every 10-15 min.
Serve the Easter knuckle with a side dish of baked potatoes, decorating with greens to taste.
We wish you bon appetite and congratulate you with the brightest Easter holiday!