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Celebrating traditional Russian Orthodox Easter

Students in Russian 209 class take part in Paskha (Πacxa) traditions

By Rachel Bradley


This year, the Russian 209 class taught by Dr. Elena Bratishenko, was lucky to participate in a traditional celebration of the Orthodox Easter observed in Russia.

Typically, this celebration occurs on the first Sunday after the full ecclesiastical full moon; however, the students partook in the activities on March 26th, along with a few of the Russian students and professors from other classes.

Easter in Russian is Paskha (Πacxa), and it is known to be a holiday of great importance to the people. This holiday comes with many traditions but the ones that the students took part in were that of dying hard-boiled eggs, playing games with those eggs, and trying the time-honored food of the holiday. Hard-boiled eggs are very important to the celebration of Easter as they represent resurrection and new life. Normally, the eggs would be painted red using onion skins; however, the students were able to get a bit more creative with their designs with the various options of food colouring.

Common Russian Easter games mainly consist of the use of the painted eggs. The students were able to play the game of trying to crack each other’s eggs. The person whose egg lasts the longest wins!

Many of the students enjoyed the traditional breakfast of buckwheat pancakes with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, and dill as toppings; others enjoyed some fruit or a special type of traditional rich yeast bread called kulich with a sweet cheese mixture called paskha, like the holiday itself.

Thank you to everyone that participated in the celebratory events! Who knows, maybe a new yearly tradition has started for Russian students of the University of Calgary.