Preparations for the main Orthodox holiday begin a week before Resurrection.
On Great Thursday or Pure Thursday, it is customary to start preparing. The traditional dish, cottage cheese Easter, should be steeped and soaked. Thursday is special also because believers strive to cleanse their thoughts and minds, receive communion in the church, and do some cleaning – hence Thursday is considered Pure.
The color red is chosen as the primary color in church decorations and the attire of priests, symbolizing the sufferings of Christ. In the chants of Bright Week, the phrase “Red Pascha” is heard: earlier, the word “red” meant “beautiful,” so believers choose this shade for festive tablecloths, towels, and headscarves.
Orthodox traditions state that the holiday should be celebrated in the church: the Paschal service begins at twelve o’clock. The celebration in the church is not limited to Sunday and continues for forty days. That’s how long Jesus spent with his disciples after the resurrection.
Easter has become a traditional celebration over many years, preserving many rituals from ancient times. For example, the lighting of the Holy Fire, which symbolizes the light in the tomb and the resurrection. The holiday is greeted in new or clean clothes: a symbol of a new beginning and joy. An Orthodox tradition is to place eggs on the table – another symbol of the beginning of life. Eggs are traditionally dyed red on Holy Saturday.
Another Orthodox tradition is to bless leavened bread (artos). This ritual is for those who could not receive communion and to feel unity. Today, believers can receive leavened bread in the church: it should be kept at home to consume on an empty stomach or during illnesses.
Easter is a family holiday, guests and godparents gather around a large table and begin the morning feast. First, the egg blessed during the night service, then the cottage cheese Easter. After everyone has tried the traditional dishes, you can proceed to the main feast – meat dishes and snacks. There are no rules for setting the table or the menu; what’s essential is joy and the absence of malice in the heart!