Easter in Russia

This Sunday, on April 27, Orthodox Russians will celebrate Easter. The days when celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was forbidden are over. Today's Russia is re-establishing Orthodox traditions and re-shaping them.Originally the celebration of Easter in Russia was introduced in the late 10th century. Orthodox Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the vernal equinox, and so Easter is something of a spring festival. For this day Russians bake special Easter cakes (kulich), make curd cake (paskha; this dish bears the original name of the holiday in Russian), and paint eggs (krashenki).During the Soviet Union all of the customs connected to the church were considered illegal. Easter was prohibited, as was everything connected with religion. Police even watched churches in order to prevent people from attending services. Still lots of people went to cemeteries to bow before their relatives' graves.Though it completely conflicts with Orthodox customs, it became a tradition for many Russian people.The same is true about Palm Sunday - on these two special days we witness a flow of believers to the city's many cemeteries.But the tradition of celebrating Easter and Palm Sunday, for example, or keeping the fast are different in Orthodoxy and Catho­licism. In fact, the differences start from the date of Easter celebration. Orthodox believers don't eat animal products, such as meat and milk; fish is allowed twice during Lent and total refusal of food is welcomed on some days. Of course, all these dietary rules are supported by spirituality, pure minds and attending church services.For the Orthodox Church this is the main holiday, the end of the seven weeks of Lent. Easter brings human happiness, the beauty of resurrecting nature and renewing life - snow melts after the long winter, the birds return in song, and the trees blossom.