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Russian Orthodox Easter Differences

This year we went to a Kulich fair – a tradition in our local church in the US, where kids get to decorate Kulich and die eggs. They had a lot of fun as usual but we also talked about difference and similarities between the Orthodox and Western Easter

The Name

Easter is the biggest holiday in Christian church. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ (воскресение Иисуса Христа). Eater in Russian is called Pascha (Пасха). While in English the word Easter comes from a from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring – Eostre. As Easter was usually in April (Eostremonat), her name was used for the Christian holiday that happened then. ,” In most of the non-English speaking countrie is is still called Pasch (Passover).

The Date

I always knew that Easter is a movable holiday and can be celebrated in April or May, but I found out that Easter is on different dates for Orthodox and Western Christians.

Although both calculate the date based on the same rule (“The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox”). However the 13 day difference between the Julian (western) and the Georgian (Eastern) calendar as well as different interpretation of the vernal equinox and full moon. This is why the date for Easter can differ by a month.

However there are year when they do fall on the same date and this year is one of them! Although some previous years when they fell on different dates my kids were lucky to celebrate Easter twice!

The Service

There are differences in the service between Orthodox and Catholic Churches. In the Orthodox Church there is a Saturday service, after it all the traditional food is blessed with Holy water, the Church is decorated and cleaned for the evening Service. It begin around 11 pm and goes through 1 to 6 am.

In Catholic Church there is usually a service on Thursday, Friday (Good Friday is a big event) and Saturday. The tradition to Baptize people before the Eater liturgy remains, and is followed by the Liturgy that begin Easter. Lots of churches will do a sunrise service followed by a celebration of the end of lent and Easter Day.

The Food

This year as my kids are older we are planning to cook traditional Russian foods for Easter and invite our friends to join us in the celebration.

Both Orthodox and Western Christian churches usually die or decorate egg for Easter. Orthodox Easter is usually celebrated with a big meal right at the beginning of the day ( breakfast or brunch) and involves eating a log of traditional food that are usually prepare on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.

The traditional way to decorate the eggs is to collect the onion sлшты and then boil them down. That produces a brown liquid. Then the eggs are covered in cloth or herb and put in the onion liquid to produce oтe beautiful decorative deigns.

Two other staples of an Eater meal are a Kulich ( Кулич – sweet bread in a shape of a tall cylinder) and Pascha ( Пасха –  mixture of farmers cheese, butter, sour cream, eggs, sugar and dried fruit). Like with Borscht, every family tends to have their own ( best!) recipe for Kulich and Pascha.

This year we plan to try these three recipes:





Check out lots of other wonderful Easter traditions form around the work at the MKB Easter Around the World and visit the pinterest board!

Follow Russian Step By Step’s board Пасха Easter in Russian on Pinterest.

Series on Easter around the world

Easter is approaching, and once again we are excited to take you on a tour of the world and how it celebrates Easter! Explore the diverse traditions of Easter with us, and don’t miss our series from last year or 2015. You also will enjoy this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. Find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Easter Around the World on Pinterest.

March 27
Turning Dutch on Multicultural Kid Blogs: The Netherlands

March 28
Kori at Home: 8 Polish Easter Traditions and Customs for Kids

March 29
Hispanic Mama: Fun Easter Resources for Your Bilingual Kids

March 31
Globe Trottin’ Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Pascha – Greek Orthodox Easter Traditions

April 6
All Done Monkey: Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda

April 7
Living Ideas: DIY Rose Egg Craft from Indonesia

April 10
Russian Step By Step: Orthodox Easter Differences

April 11
Pediatrician with a Passport: Honor the Egg

About the Author


AnnaOriginally from Russia, Anna has a Bachelor’s in Education and Linguistics from Moscow State Pedagogical University in Moscow, and a Master’s Degree in International and Interactive Communication from University of Lille 1, IAE Business School in Lille, France. Anna speaks fluent Russian, English and French and also knows some Spanish, German, Japanese and Italian. Her education, work experience and many years of teaching and tutoring both in the actual classroom and online helps her understand the needs of students as well as the design, management and promotion of language courses, textbooks and learning materials. As a voice actor Anna has contributed many tracks to the audio components of this course and you can see her on the videos as the lead teacher. Anna is very interested is supporting and promoting the study of the Russian language, as well as introducing Russia’s language and culture to a variety of people world-wide. If you notice any issues or mistakes in the digital or audio components, are interested in reviewing Russian Step By Step Series or in purchasing large quantities, please contact Anna.View all posts by Anna →


  1. Tracey

    Interesting post! Enjoy reading about different cultures!

  2. Honor the Egg « Lisa Lewis, MD
    Honor the Egg « Lisa Lewis, MD04-21-2017

    […] Russian Step By Step: Orthodox Easter Differences […]

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