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Easter in Ukraine

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Easter in Ukraine

Every nationality, every country, and every county have their own traditions that have been built with every century. Ukraine, which is located in eastern Europe and is bordered on the west by Poland, Slovakia and Hungary; on the southwest by Romania and Moldova; on the south by the Black Sea and Sea of Azov; on the east and northeast by Russia; and on the north by Belarus, has its own traditions and one of them is Easter. Ukrainian Easter is based on deep old traditions and can be divided in three parts: preparation, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.

Preparation, which includes six weeks of feasting and the importance of last week, is one of the important parts in Ukrainian Easter celebration. Ukrainians believe that to have a great Easter, they have to clean their souls by following to some strict rules of the long feast. During the six weeks of feast people pray, forgive their enemies if they have one, and ask for forgiveness others. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday people cannot eat meat and diary products, and some old women do not eat anything during these days. In addition, every Friday people go to a church, to listen "The Last Trip of Christ," which tells story about Jesus and about time of his death. By listening it, people have to be on their knee for two hours and pray. Last Sunday of six weeks is a Willow Sunday. In this day, the church blesses willows with Holy Water. Everyone takes a few willows to their homes after service. At home, they make fun of family members by hitting those one, who for some reason did not go to the church, and tell them: "The willow is hitting, I am not hitting, and in one week from today, it will be Easter." People keep the willow in the corner of their rooms near icons because it protects house from bad luck. The last week before Easter is Holy Week when people cook, bake, paint eggs, and stay very busy everyday. Good Friday has an important place in preparations. People do not do any physical work and do not eat meat or diary products. The church makes a tomb of Christ in this day, and everybody goes there to kiss the tomb and pray. Holy Saturday has two events, which are painting eggs and preparing Easter basket. People usually paint thirteen eggs that symbol the twelve apostles and Jesus. These eggs have red, blue yellow, green, and gold colors. When the family is done with the painting, they put food such as a couple slices of Easter bread, a few painted eggs, Gouda cheese, salami, lard, some fruits, and a candle in Easter basket. When everything is ready, they pray and go to sleep earlier.

The second part of Easter celebration in Ukraine is Easter Sunday, which calls people to the church, gets all family together, and blesses graves. Early in the morning by four o'clock on Easter Sunday, church bells ring and call everybody there. People go to the church with Easter baskets, which have to be blessed by the priest with Holy Water. They make circle of the baskets around the church and light candles in it. The priest

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