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20Кві
2014
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Easter in Ukraine

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Holidays are very pleasant days, because these are days when people don’t have to work, but have an opportunity to relax, meet friends, say many pleasant words to each other, give presents to one another and everybody is in a cheerful and merry mood.

Each country has its own customs, traditions, holidays, important days in its history. Talking of holidays in Ukraine we should say about Easter which is one of the most important Christian festival of the year.

Easter Day comes according to the lunar calendar. This day is much more than ordinary holiday. It’s the day of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. People celebrate this Holiday because He died on the cross for our salvation. They go to churches to listen to sermons, gather at homes to pray and thank Jesus Christ for the salvation from eternal death into eternal life with Him in Heaven.

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By Orthodox canons Easter is celebrated in Ukraine later than in other European countries. Only several years ago it was proclaimed an official state holiday.

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 Preparation for Easter starts seven weeks ahead of time with the advent of Lent. Believers don’t eat meat and animal products.

Palm Sunday, the week before Easter, is known in Ukraine as Willow Sunday. People bring home willow branches which have been blessed in church.

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 The week is dedicated to preparing for Easter. The Thursday before Easter is called Clean Thursday. According to Ukrainian tradition one should bathe before sunrise on this day. The house must be clean too.

Good Friday is the day that the women of the family bake “paska”, Ukrainian Easter bread.

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 Easter egg is an important part in Easter celebration.

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 It is the most popular emblem of the holiday. It symbolized the birth of new life and the coming of spring.

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 So on Saturday children dye Easter eggs to add to the Easter basket, which will be blessed in church. It also includes salt, paska, sausage and ham. In the evening people go to church for attending the all-night service. Even those who never usually go to church attend such services.

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 Easter egg is called pysanka. Pysanka shells have been found in archaeological sites from more than 3000 years ago, and many of those designs are still being used on pysanka today.

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 Nowadays you can also find chocolate eggs with surprises in them.

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 But the old custom of dying and painting eggs is still kept and is the most popular. There are some other emblems of Easter which came to us from other countries. They are fluffy little chicks, the Easter Bunny and spring flowers.

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Easter Sunday or Red Sunday is a day of singing songs and having a tasty meal at home. Young girls dance and sing about nature and spring. People have an occasion for the exchange of pysankas.

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The day after Easter Day, Easter Monday is also a public holiday.

Ukrainian people enjoy Easter because it is a good break in everyday work, an opportunity to see their friends and relatives and just to have a good time. At such moments everybody relaxes and tries to forget about everyday problems.

Vocabulary:

shell — шкаралупа

archaeological — археологічний

design — узор, малюнок

advent — прихід

to dye — фарбувати

Lent — Великий піст

willow — верба

blessed — освячений

according to — згідноз

sunrise— схід сонця

mass— служба (у церкві)

to exchange— обмінюватися

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Questions:

  1. What is one of the most important holiday of the year?
  2. What associations do you have with Easter?
  3. What is Lent?
  4. When does preparation for Easter start?
  5. Can you describe what is going on in your house before Easter Sunday?
  6. What is pysanka?
  7. Do you enjoy painting eggs?
  8. What are your favourite colours and desines?
  9. When do children dye eggs?
  10.  What do people put into the Easter basket?

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Let your table for the light feast of Easter be the most beautiful and soulful!

I wish you all a blessed Easter Day!

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