Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter in Russia

Russian holidays come at different times because of the use of the Gregorian Calendar. This year Russia celebrated Easter a week after the United States. Easter in Russia is a really big deal. It is considered by many to be the most important holiday for the Orthodox church and is celebrated by all! Easter is called Пасха or Paskha. On this day you can greet anyone by saying Христос воскрес (khris-tOs vas-krYEs)! It means Christ is risen. They reply by saying Воистину воскрес (va-Ist-in-oo vas-krYEs)! This means truly He is risen or more literally truly risen. This includes your church family to any stranger on the street. Instead of seeing Happy Easter everywhere, you see Христос воскрес. Most Russians will begin the celebration Saturday evening around ten 'o clock at a Russian Orthodox church. It is a solemn time until midnight with the lighting of candles, and the priest proclaiming, "Христос воскрес!" And the people replying, "Воистину воскрес!"

After the service they enjoy time with friends and family. They will enjoy some delicious food that the ladies have spent many hours even days preparing.

The most famous Russian Easter bread, kulich, is known for its tall narrow shape. It is usually made with lots of butter and eggs, plus additions of candied fruit, raisins, and nuts. The bulging top is iced and decorated, usually with Cyrillic letters X and B for "Христос воскрес" or Christ is risen.

Here is a recipe if you are interested. It is very unique! I had to look up what cardamom was. If I'm not the only one that didn't have a clue what that was I included a link to the wikipedia site. Just click on the word "cardamom" below. I'm wondering if it could be replaced by ginger, but not sure about that.


2 pkg. rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
4 cups evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
9 eggs
12 cups flour
3 cups raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Set aside. Scald and cool to lukewarm the 4 cups of milk. Add yeast and the 1 cup of sugar, 4 cups of the flour and the cardamom to the lukewarm milk. Mix into a smooth dough and set in a warm place for approximately 2 hours. When the dough is done resting, melt and warm the butter. Stir the sugar, salt, vanilla and zest into the butter and add to the dough. Gradually work in the flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. Knead for 5 minutes. Add nuts and raisins and knead another 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl and turn once to grease the top of the dough to prevent crust from forming. Let it rise until it doubles in bulk. Roll into various sized balls and place in greased various sized metal cans you have saved. Grease the top of the dough again. Bake in a 350-degree oven. Baking time will vary depending on size of cans. When dough is done remove from pan and butter the crust. Place on baking rack to cool.

I am so sad we had to miss my first Easter in Russia. Next year though, Lord willing, I'll be able to post pictures from our Easter service and tell you more from my personal experience instead of my sweet husband's! :)  

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