Bulgarian Easter Traditions
Easter is a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ class from the dead three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday. Easter also class marks the end of the Lent. A symbol of the Resurrection is the egg out of class which a bird hatches.
Easter is the time of springtime festivals, a time to welcome back the class tulips, the crocuses and the daffodils. It is also the holiest day in the class Christian calendar (followed by Christmas) and is recognized as a legal class holiday in most countries with a significant Christian tradition.
The Bulgarian Easter traditions are a variation of traditional Orthodox class Easter traditions. Here in Bulgaria, egg cracking is good for more than just class eating the egg. The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter for the class Orthodox Christians all over the world. The traditional Orthodox Paschal class greeting is: "Christ has risen!" The answer is: "Indeed He has risen". This class is the greeting during 40 days after Pascha. Also, the greeting is exchanged class during the ritual tapping of the eggs which is explained below. The first class egg is always painted red to symbolize the blood of Christ and should be put class aside – either to be buried in the fields to ensure fertility or kept in the class home to bring good luck. On Easter Sunday married couples traditionally class visit the best man at their wedding and have roast lamb for lunch. class The Christian tradition of the red egg custom is connected with a specific class legend. Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus had cured from all the evil spirits class within her, was the first one to see Jesus rise from the dead and she went class around the world to spread the happy news. She reached Rome and Emperor class Tiberius’s palace. According to the tradition, everyone visiting him was class supposed to carry a gift to the Emperor. The rich people were carrying class expensive gifts while the poor ones offered whatever they could afford. Mary class Magdalene took an egg to Tiberius’s palace and handed it to the Emperor with class the following greeting:"Christ has risen from the dead!" The Emperor could class not believe what he heard and responded: "How could anyone ever rise from class the dead?! It is as impossible as that white egg to turn red right now!"class While Tiberius was talking, the egg in Mary Magdalene’s hands started class changing its color until it finally became bright red. The Easter greeting class ever since has remained "Christ has risen from the dead" and Christians all class over the world color eggs in red (and various other colors) for Easter to class celebrate their belief in the resurrection.
The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter for the Orthodox class Christians all over the world. It is tradition that the eggs are colored on class Holy Thursday after the Divine Liturgy. The eldest woman in the house has class the privilege of dying the eggs.
The Easter breads are a worldwide Orthodox tradition as well. These are big class or small and decorated. The bread is called "kolache" or "kozunak". One of class these Easter breads may be specially decorated with one or more (but always class an odd number) of the red-colored eggs. This bread is taken to church on class Saturday evening. The church bells begin to ring just before midnight,class calling Orthodox Christians to worship. At midnight, a special sequence of class services takes place: Midnight Office, Rush Procession, Matins and Divine class Liturgy. These are the services of Great and Holy Pascha (Velikden).class Following the service, the clergy blesses the breads and eggs brought by the class people and they return with them to their homes. The eggs are cracked after class the midnight service and during the next days. One egg is cracked on the glass wall of the church, and this is the first egg eaten after the long Great class Fast. The ritual of tapping the eggs takes place just before the Easter class lunch begins. Each person will select his or her egg. Then the people in class turn exchange the Easter greeting ("Christ has risen!" / "Indeed He has class Risen") 3 times before tapping their egg against the eggs of others.
The person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year class of good luck.
Easter (Zatik) is the favourite and the most anticipated holiday in the Christian world. Everybody greets each other on this day: "Christ has arisen"-"Blessed is the resurrection of Christ". During the Lenten fasting season of 40 days before Easter, Armenian families put lentils or other sprouting grains on a tray covered with a thin layer of cotton, and keep it in a light place of the house until Easter when sprouts appear. These green sprouts, symbolizing spring and awakening of nature, are the "grass" on which people place colored eggs to decorate the Easter table. To the present day, Armenians have preserved the beautiful biblical lore which refers to red eggs and cheorek (sweet bread): "When Christ was crucified, his mother took some eggs and bread wrapped in the shawl. When the Mother saw her Son crucified and his arms bleeding, she knelt down and cried. The Mother’s tears and Son’s blood dropping on the shawl colored the eggs and bread. Then the Mother put the shawl on her head. Since that day people began coloring eggs red on Easter day and women began wearing shawls when visiting church.
Georgian Easter Traditions
By Keith Kenney
To all of our family and friends in the United States, Happy Easter! To all of our friends in Georgia, Greece and other Orthodox countries, we will wait until next Sunday, and then say: "Christ is Risen!" To which you will undoubtedly respond: "Indeed He is Risen." The week before Easter begins with Willow Sunday which Americans know as Palm Sunday. Special services are conducted in almost every church in Georgia, but particularly on Passion Thursday and Good Friday. Passion Thursday is connected to the Last Supper when Jesus Christ washed his apostles’ feet and when Judah betrayed him. Next Thursday, the Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia will wash the feet of twelve priests just like Christ did with the Apostles. Good Friday is connected with the Crucifixion, lamentation and burial of Jesus Christ. In Svetistkhoveli Cathedral, where Christ’s Robe is buried, a cross will be put in front of the altar at 2pm, and a special ritual will follow. On Saturday night, the most devout Orthodox Christians go to church and stay at the church until late Easter morning. Then people have a special meal to break the fast. Georgians fast for 40 days before Easter. Fasting means no sugar, eggs, dairy products, fish, or meat are allowed, as well as no sexual relations. On Easter Monday, churches conduct a special prayer in memory of the deceased, and Orthodox Christians bring red eggs and flowers to the graves of their relatives. People prepare for Easter by dying eggs red on Good Friday and by baking Easter Bread, called Paska. The eggs symbolize the blood of Christ. They are placed on green wheat grass, which symbolizes new life, resurrection, and eternity. People grow this wheat grass on flat plates two weeks before Easter. On the Saturday evening before Easter, people take the eggs and Easter breads to church for a blessing. After the service, people take the bread and eggs home and crack the eggs during the next days. The person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
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