A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

Paskha, the Russian Easter

Like in many European Catholic countries, Paskha is a weeklong festival. For the very religious, there are church ceremonies beginning a week in advance, but the most important days are the last four: Great Thursday (also known as “Clean Thursday,” because this day is dedicated to a thorough spring cleaning), Friday of the Passion, Great Saturday, and finally Paskha itself on Sunday. For some, Saturday is a fast day, broken after the Paskhal vigil church service, which ends at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning. After that, the Paskha feast can begin!

In addition to a full feast, it is traditional to eat painted boiled eggs (much like in America) and a special cake called a Paskha for this holiday. I was gifted one by Elena Alexandrovna, my Monday Russian teacher at Interlingua, where I study Russian language.

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I brought it into work to share with everyone. Unfortunately, one of the women at the office insisted that we throw it out, since it’s a Christian and not a Jewish holiday food. This is so typical of Jews in Ukraine and all over the world, who feel threatened by anything not Jewish. There are Jews in Israel who are hostile towards the Russian yolkas, seeing them as an attack on Jewish traditions, or Jews in America who denounce the involvement of non-Jews in Jewish cultural organizations. It all stems from fear of the other, and it’s sad that we feel our Judaism so weak as to be threatened by the existence of something different.

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  Paskha, the Russian Easter wrote @

[…] Original post by chanteuse428 […]


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