Traditions of The Orthodox Easter - BULGARIA CELEBRATES ORTHODOX EASTER
- BULGARIA CELEBRATES ORTHODOX EASTER
1 May 2005:
As midnight arrived, people gathered for worship at the Orthodox churches
across entire Bulgaria to celebrate the Orthodox Easter.
On the holy night of Easter and all over the next forty days, the Orthodox
believers greet each other with "Christos voskrese" (Christ has resurrected)
and "Vo istina voskrese" (Indeed he has risen).
At midnight on Saturday people go to church with their red-painted eggs and
tap each other's ones after the priest proclaims that Easter has come.
According to tradition, the first red-painted egg is kept at home next to an
icon till the following Easter.
The ritual of tapping the eggs in turns takes place before the Easter lunch.
The person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year
of good luck.
The Easter breads, called "kozunak", are another important element of the
Orthodox Easter tradition. This bread is taken to church on Saturday evening
when a special sequence of services takes place.
Easter is in the fundamentals of Christian faith, it gives meaning to the
whole cycle of Christ's birth and life on earth.
This past week has been Holy Week, including special worship services on
Holy Thursday, Holy Friday and Holy Saturday.
Traditions of The Orthodox Easter
For the Record: 1 May 2005, Sunday.
The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter for the Orthodox
Christians all over the world. The eggs are colored on Holy Thursday after
the Divine Liturgy.
The eggs are cracked after the midnight service and during the next days.
One egg is cracked on the wall of the church (and this is the first egg
eaten after the long Great Fast). The ritual of cracking the eggs takes
place before the Easter lunch. Each person selects his/her egg. Then people
take turns tapping their egg against the eggs of others, and the person who
ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
Another element of the Orthodox Easter tradition are the Easter breads. They
are big and small and decorated. The bread is called "kolache" or "kozunak.
One of these Easter breads is specially decorated with one or more (but an
odd number) of red eggs are put into it. This bread is taken to church on
Saturday evening when a special sequence of services takes place: Midnight
Office, Rush Procession, Matins & Divine Liturgy.
Among all the symbols associated with Easter the egg is one of the most
outspoken symbol of fertility and new life.
Originally Easter eggs were painted with bright colors to represent the
sunlight of spring and were used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as
gifts. After they were colored and etched with various designs the eggs were
exchanged by lovers and romantic admirers, much the same as valentines.
In medieval time eggs were traditionally given at Easter to the servants. In
Germany eggs were given to children along with other Easter gifts.
Different cultures have developed their own ways of decorating Easter eggs.
The Bulgarian people knows various techniques of painting the eggs, with one
of the most ancient and original one being the so-called pysanki (to design,
Pysanki eggs are a masterpiece of skill and workmanship. Melted beeswax is
applied to the fresh white egg. It is then dipped in a bath of red dye.
Eventually a complex pattern of lines and forms emerges into a work of art.
In Bulgaria Easter is celebrated at church. Eggs and bread play a large role
in the tradition of the holiday.
The Easter Egg in Bulgaria is usually painted a bright red, and is the
symbol for the entire celebration of Easter for Orthodox Christians all over
In recent years the egg painting has expanded and red is not the only colour
used, a variety of other colors are used as well.
Great and Holy Thursday - this is the day when the Easter red eggs are
People take one of their red eggs to church for the service of the 12
After the service they bury the egg in the vineyard so that God keeps them
from hailstorms (gradushka) and to give them a good harvest (beriket).
People believe that a Holy Thursday egg would last that way all year.
In some occasions the eggs can be painted on the Saturday before the
Except for the standard way of painting (dipping the egg into a vessel and
waiting for the paint to cover all its surface) eggs can be decorated by
putting the egg in a piece of cotton, previously spinkled with different
paints. Then you wrap it up and wait some minutes for the paint to dry up.
Easter breads play a big role as well, because they are a part of the
BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ATTENDS EASTER MASS IN SOFIA
Politics, 1 May 2005:
Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov was among the many Bulgarian Orthodox
Christians to attend the Easter mass served by Patriarch Maxim at the Sofia
Saint Nedelya church.
The mass started after the arrival of the fire light up at Jerusalem on
Bulgaria's Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg and the Parliamentary Spokesman
Borislav Velikov attended a solemn night mass at the Saitn Alexander Nevski
cathedral in the capital city.
Bulgaria's Patriarch greeted the entire nation urging all people to
resurrect for a new life.
MORE About the Orthodox Easter READ in For the Record Section
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