Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter in Ukraine

Our team celebrated Easter yesterday, a week later than most of you around the world, but on the day it's celebrated here in Ukraine. We did a few "traditional" Easter things, but also brought in some of our traditional fun and it turned out to be a great day.

First of all, here's a few snapshots of how Easter is celebrated here: Easter is mainly an Orthodox holiday, celebrating Jesus' resurrection. Next to Christmas, it is one of the most popular holidays here. On Saturday, they go out to the graveyards of their dead relatives. Saturday is also the day they go to the church to get their Easter things (cakes, baskets,eggs, etc.) blessed by the priest. On Sunday, no one works, everyone just celebrates with family. Our language teacher told us it was a sin to work on Easter Sunday. On Sunday, everyone greets one another the traditional way:
First person greets: "Христос воскрес!" ("Christ is Risen!")
Second person replies: "Воистину воскрес!" ("Truly, He is Risen!")
Then they kiss each other 3 times.
They decorate eggs and also have a special Easter bread (see picture above) that is only made for this holiday. Here is a video that gives more info about the Orthodox Easter celebration:

Our team got together on Sunday for a special time together. David and I cooked up a feast: brisket (yes, we found all the ingredients needed to pull it off well!), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and homemade rolls. Yummy! To top that off, I made cherry and blackberry cobbler. We all ate and had a great time together. After sharing a meal, we had church (the kids and I studied David and Goliath and David led the other adults in a time focused more around the communion), then the boys were off for naps. After they woke up, we got ready to decorate eggs. We brought out the crayons and all of us decorated at least one, then we stuck them all in dye. The kids were in the middle of it all, so we had a few eggs with more cracks in them and Silas walked away with a pink hand. :) For the most part, the 6 adults managed to keep the dye in the bowls and the messes down to bare minimum. Malachi and Canaan were especially great and followed instructions well! After we dyed our colored eggs, we moved onto these Ukrainian egg decals (see picture below). You basically slip them over the eggs, stick them in hot water and within seconds they are molded to the egg and look fabulous. Some of them were pictures of Ukrainian stories for the kids, some were traditional Ukrainian designs, and others said "Христос воскрес" (Christ is Risen). We were all proud of how it all turned out and had such a great time together! After all that, we ate pizza (thank goodness we found one place open who delivered as most things were shut down for the day), then shared some traditional Easter cake. It was good, not that sweet of a cake and a little dry, but not too bad! :)

We were sent some plastic Easter eggs from the States, so the kids will probably go Easter egg hunting during the retreat this next weekend. The place where we are staying has grass, so we'll be saving the egg hunt until then for that luxury! Which, we'll be leaving on Wednesday for this retreat, so please keep that in your prayers. We hope to have some good time away as a team and get a lot accomplished, specifically looking back at what we've accomplished so far, what we can do better, and planning for starting ministry.

On another note, David also started our garden last week. We have several cherry tomato plants growing, some peppers, strawberries, and lettuce. We're growing them all on our balcony; it's heaps of fun and David is doing a great job. I'll take some pictures and post about that soon. He also surprised me today by bringing home a microwave , so we have that up on top of our fridge now... it's nice to have one again!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and snapshot into what's happening over here. Our holiday was great and we're excited that Spring is here!


Lori said...

thanks for the info about the traditions. very interesting.

Mihills Family Blog said...

I loved the Ukranian egg decals! Maybe you could blow out some eggshells and then use the decals. That way you can keep them. Looks like ya'll had a great day. Have a wonderful retreat time together!



Zack said...

Hi Dave and Olivia! All the Easter pictures were awesome! Thank you all so much for checking my blog and for the prayers! I'm praying for y'all and the whole team too. Each of you are great friends and I am so blessed to know each of you. God bless you Dave and Olivia! His blessings on both of you, the team, and the work y'all are doing there in Kharkov, Ukraine. Grace and Peace.

Deanna said...

Your Easter eggs are beautiful! I'm glad that you can continue to have some of the same traditions as we have here. I'm sure it makes it a bit easier to be away.

Nancy said...

That was fun to read about!

Russell, Alison and Grant said...

I'm so glad that your Easter turned out so well. Looks like you guys had a ton of fun. Thanks for keeping us updated! We're praying for your work there.

The Boyers said...

Thanks for sharing! The eggs turned out great :) I am so excited that you are able to grow so many things on your patio! You will have to post pictures (I'm a garden nerd!). We are praying for and miss you! Hope the weather is still nice! ~Jocelyn and Philip