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Ukrainian Easter Cards

Христос Воскрес! Khrystos Voskres!

Христос Воскрес (Khrystos Voskres) means "Christ is Risen" and is the most popular Easter greeting in Ukraine.

You can also write Happy Easter like this з Великоднем (Z Velykodnem).


Ukrainian Easter Greetings

The custom on Easter Sunday is to greet another person with the words "Khrystos Voskres!" (Христос воскрес! ) meaning "Christ is Risen!" and the response would be "Voistyno Voskres!" (Воістину Воскресе!) meaning "Truly, He is Risen," "Indeed, He is Risen," or "He is Risen Indeed".

Ukrainian Easter Egg Painting (Pysanky)

Pysanky were traditionally made during the last week of Lent by the women of the family, only the most perfectly shaped and smooth would be selected. Ideally the first laid eggs of young hens were chosen and a rooster had been present as non-fertile eggs would bring infertility to the home.

The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax and convey a message to the person you are giving the egg to. The symbols and colors have been reinterpreted over time, in pre-Christian times used to ward off evil spirits, banish winter, guarantee a good harvest and bring a person good luck and when Christianity became the state religion of Ukraine in 988 the symbols were reinterpreted in a Christian light.

Blessing of the basket (Sviachenia)

The last Sunday before Easter (Palm Sunday) is know as Willow Sunday (Verbna nedilia) as native pussy-willow branches are blessed in the church as an alternative to actual palm fronds which of course can only grow in warmer climates.

On Good Friday or Passion Friday Ukrainians visit church for the evening service and the special Ukrainian Easter bread, paska, that goes in the basket is also traditionally baked on this day. While making the paska pure thoughts had to be maintained and once placed in the oven no one was allowed to sit or make a loud noise for fear it would collapse in the oven. In some regions of Ukraine the man of the house stood guard in his front door lest someone enter and cast an evil spell while the paska was baking.

The blessing of the basket takes place on the Saturday, a day before Easter Sunday or very early on Easter Sunday.

What to put in your Basket

Ukrainian Easter Basket
Item Description
Willow basket Lined with an embroidered cloth, white napkin or in the US green artificial grass is sometimes used.
Paska Usually features a dough braid around the perimeter, and a dough cross, sometimes a hole is left in the middle for a candle to be lighted at church during the blessing. 
Babka Ukrainian babka is a sweet bread, tall and cylindrical like Italian panettone
Pussy Willow Tie a few willow branches to the handle of the basket with ribbon.
Pysanky Decorated eggs, new ones every year
Krashanka Dyed hard boiled eggs in a variety of colors, but there must be a red one.
Eggs hard boiled and peeled
Horseradish  A piece of the root or grated horseradish with option of a second dish with beets
Cheese Usually fresh dry curd or farmers cheese (not aged) but hrudka, also known as hrutka, sirok, cirecz, might be included.
Butter Shaped into a lamb mold or simply packed into a glass container
Salt and Pepper Salt, a necessary element in physical life, is symbolic of prosperity and justice
Kovbasa Fresh or smoked and symbolic of God's favor and generosity
Ham Ham is symbolic of great joy and abundance, some prefer veal or lamb
Spring flowers and periwinkle Use only fresh plants.
Basket Cover Embroidered cloth with symbols of Easter