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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Russia Series at RussianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Russian holidays and observances. I’m Jenny, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 8 - Easter.
So listeners, which holiday do you think is the most festive and joyful among the Orthodox Christians in Russia? It’s Easter, or Пасха (Paskha.) It’s a holiday with a long history, and nowadays Russian people celebrate it as a major Christian holiday. In this lesson, I will tell you in detail about Easter in Russia and acquaint you with the traditions associated with observing it.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you- do you know how Russian people greet each other on Easter?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Just as in many other countries, Easter is celebrated every year, but has no fixed date in Russia. The date of Easter is determined by the lunar and solar calendars, but it always falls on a Sunday. Like in all countries that recognize it, Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Easter is preceded by Lent which is called Великий пост (Velikiy Post) in Russian, a period which lasts for seven whole weeks. The last week of Lent is called “Passiontide week”, or in Russian, Страстная неделя (Strasnaya nedelya) because it reminds everyone of the faithful Jesus Christ’s suffering in the last days of his life. On Saturday before midnight, you can hear a festive bell chime. This bell heralds the approach of the holy minute of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Afterwards, Christian people perform a religious procession along with priests carrying icons and crosses. They go around their churches, symbolically welcoming Jesus.
In Russia, for Easter, people bake Easter bread or кулич (kulich), and dye eggs that can then be blessed in church. Easter eggs are often dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. An ancient Slav tradition is now re-emerging in Russia. People decorate eggs uniquely using symbols, colors or patterns holding a specific meaning. At home, people set a festive table with a variety of dishes.
On Easter, both adults and children enjoy playing an interesting game called “egg fight.” When they play this game, one person uses their egg to knock on a rival’s dyed egg. The person whose egg remains unbroken is the winner.
So listeners, do you know how Russian people greet each other on Easter?
On this day, people say to each other a special Paschal greeting - “Christ is risen!” or in Russian, Христос воскрес (Khristos vaskres). And the response will be “He is risen, indeed!”, or Воистину воскрес! (Vaistinu vaskres!) in Russian.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything new?
How do people celebrate Easter in your country?
Leave a comment at RussianPod101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!