Easter – the most important festival in the Bukovina
It’s a symbol for sorrow, hope, awakening and new life. The time before Easter and during the Festival is full of rituals, which I’m going to present to interested readers:
- Seven weeks before Easter the Lent starts
- In this time you are not allowed to eat any animal-products
- The first Saturday of the Lent people washing their hole dishes, so they can dine from clean dishes.
- In the third week of the lent the most beautiful Easter eggs are chosen and washed and are kept until painting them at Good Friday
- During the Lent people are going to church every Saturday and Sunday.
- Sunday before Easter (Palm Sunday) everybody is cleaning house, yard, clothes because they are not allowed to do any work besides cooking and baking during the weeks before Easter.
Easter week (great week)
- Everyone is wearing black clothes. The churches are setting black flags and the altar is covered in black, too.
- Many people are fasting and just drinking water.
- Almost every family is baking bread and nut cake in rolls.
- The chosen eggs from the last week are going to be painted. They are not called Easter eggs but “red eggs”. They symbolize the blood of Jesus.
- Every family is packing a basket with: nut cake, a bound wreath, red eggs, meat/sausages, lamb, garlic, horseradish, cheese, butter, herbs and coins.
- Before midnight all the people with their baskets are meeting at the church and are all wearing new clothes.
- At the stroke of midnight the mass starts and ends at 4.00 a.m.
- Everybody gets a candle from the pries which catches fire from his one.
- As a symbol of penitence people are walking around the church holding their candles in their hands.
- At the end of the mass the basket are being blessed. On the way back home they are not allowed to put the basket down.
- Arriving at home the people need to go to their animals first. Afterwards they go into the yard than into the house and to all the family members. Everywhere they go they need to say “Christ is Risen” and after the whole ceremony they are allowed to put the basket down. Everything is blessed by now.
- They put the red eggs and coins out of the basket and into water. The water is blessed. Everybody is washing their faces with it- that’s how you become strong and healthy.
- They spending the day with their family and are all eating things from the basket.
- On this day the family goes back to the church and afterwards to the cemetery. There they put some things from the baskets on the grave of deceased, so they can take part at the Festival.
- Than the family visits their relatives and friends.
- Men going to the women and dripping perfume on the women – back in time they used water – and the women give those men a painted egg as a present
Following symbols are painted on the Easter eggs for hundreds of years:
- tree of life
- sewing pattern (like on tapestries)