Ukrainians Celebrate Easter with Faith and Centuries Old Traditions!

    WINNIPEG, April 17 /CNW/ - This year Latin Easter was celebrated on April
12, 2009 in accordance with the Gregorian (western) calendar, however, many
people around the world, including a large part of the Ukrainian community in
Canada, will be celebrating Easter this Sunday, April 19, 2009 in accordance
with the Julian (eastern) calendar.
    Ukrainian Easter traditions are among the richest and most elaborate in
the world. For many Ukrainians, Easter (Paska) activities begin in a very
traditional manner by attending church services during Velykyi Tyzhden (Great
or Holy Week). Holy week begins with Verbna Nedilia (Willow Sunday or Palm
Sunday) and ends with the celebration of Easter. Since palm trees did not grow
naturally in Ukraine, pussywillow branches were used as a replacement of the
palm and symbolize the triumph of Jesus entering Jerusalem.
    Preparation of traditional foods also plays a key role in the celebration
of Ukrainian Easter, in particular, the baking of paska (Easter bread). Ritual
foods are also prepared and placed in a basket with the paska, which is then
covered with a special Easter rushnyk (embroidered cloth). These items include
hard boiled eggs, pysanky, babka (sweet bread), ham, kovbasa (sausage),
butter, cheese, horseradish, beet relish and salt. The basket is then taken to
church for Sviachenia (Blessing ceremony). These ritual foods are breakfast
foods that will literally "break the fast" of Lent which prepares the soul for
purity of confession on Easter.
    The traditional folk art of pysanky (decorative dyed-eggs) is done by
batik method, using beeswax to trace designs on the eggs that are then dyed in
different colors according to the intention of the designer. "Pysanky" comes
from the Ukrainian word "to write". Designs on the eggs may be painted,
scratched, or dyed without a design, but true pysanky are eggs decorated using
the beeswax-and-dye method. Ukrainian pysanky have a symbolic significance.
They symbolize spring, renewed life, and resurrection and have thus become
associated with the celebration of Easter. Today pysanky are also appreciated
as works of art around the world known world-wide and motifs adapted to other
forms, even clothing!
    The Ukrainian Canadian Congress wishes all those who are celebrating
Paska this weekend happiness, faith, and prosperity! Let the magic of Easter
fill your home with peace and harmony. Christ is Risen!

    For more information about Easter traditions please see Easter video
(Ilnycky -UCC Calgary Branch) on Breakfast Television program).

For further information:

For further information: about UCC please visit our website at; UCC Media Contact, Darla Penner, Tel: (204) 942-4627, Email:,

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