Easter is a major cultural and religious holiday in the UK, and each multicultural community has its own set of traditions surrounding the holiday.
Easter is a very important event in Eastern European communities, and celebrations even last longer as many Orthodox communities follow the Gregorian calendar where Easter falls 13 days later than on the Julian calendar.
While British Easter traditions involve Easter egg hunts and painting eggs in pastel colours, Eastern European traditions are a bit different, and eggs are painted red to symbolise the blood of Christ.
Russian Easter traditions involve greeting one another “Khristos voskrese” (“Christ is risen”) and “Voïstinou voskrese” (“He is risen indeed”), eating festive foods such as the cream cheese dessert Pashka and joyful traditions like the Easter Egg battle where you bang your egg against another person’s and try not to let your own break.
Polish Easter traditions involve decorating two different types of eggs including the “kraszanki” which is painted or dyed eggs and the “pisanki” which are eggs decorated with wax. Another tradition is “Śmigus dyngus” or “Wet Monday” where people throw water at each other, which is meant to have a healing effect.
Romanian traditions include washing one’s self by putting a red egg and silver coin in the water before going to church and walking around the church three times with a candle before going home.
Bulgarian traditions include the eldest woman of the family painting a cross with a red egg on children’s heads to bring them good health.
Lithuanian Easter traditions involve the figure of the Velykų Senelė (Easter Granny) who leaves eggs for children to hunt.
Ukrainian Easter traditions include making the Pyssanka, elaborate egg decorations that are considered lucky charms. These are stored in a basket which is then taken to mass with a lit candle, which the priest blesses.
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There are around 1 million Polish people in the UK, 670,000 Romanian, 600,000 Lithuanian, 600,000 Bulgarians, close to 500,000 Russians and 400,000 Ukrainians in the UK. These communities are an essential part of the UK’s #multicultural future.
*Based on EEA Settled Status statistics and ONS predictions