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The Resurrection Mass was always eagerly awaited. In olden
times a was held in the early morning before the rising of the sun. At
that time in history all churches in Ukraine were built to face the East.
When the Mass was ending and the priest first said "Chrystos Voskres"
(Christ Has Risen), the doors of the church would be opened and the rays
of the rising sun would envelop the faithful. Following the Mass the people
greeted each other in the traditional way, by kissing each other three
times. This is called "chrystosuvania"
PASKA - Easter Ritual Bread . Paska baked
by Lubow Wolynetz (The Ukrainian Museum) as seen on Martha Stewart, April
2000. The most honored Easter bread was the paska and the preparation
and baking of paska was considered one of the most important tasks of
the year. People believed that the future could be predicted, depending
on how this holiday bread turned out. Every homemaker wanted her paska
to be the best and the biggest, therefore while baking it she performed
various magical gestures and used incantations.
The antiquity of the paska as a ritual bread is evidenced not only by the rituals performed during the preparations and baking but also by the decorations which adorned this holiday bread. The top of the paska was covered with symbolic signs made of dough such as a cross, solar signs, rosettes, leaves, pine cones and sometimes even birds and bees. Most of these decorations were remnants of an ancient pagan religion tied to the cult of the sun and bread.
The Easter basket is the pride and joy
of the family. People judge the mistress of the house according to the
way her Easter basket looks, what it contains, and how it is decorated.
The basket should be lined with a newly embroidered serviette or with
a white napkin. An embroidered serviette should be used to cover the basket.
Very ambitious housewives have two embroidered serviettes - one for lining
the basket and one for covering it.
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