CROSSROADS OF EASTER CELEBRATION: HAPPY EASTER FROM ISA! – Meline (ARMENIA)
Easter has always been one of the dearest and most expected holidays since my childhood, and I was preparing for it even some weeks ago. It is the time for celebrating the resurrection of Christ and, also, the awakening of mother nature. However, when I was a child, Easter was not really a religious celebration for me. Instead, it was more of a happy holiday where I dyed eggs with different colours and decorated a mass of beautiful grass (grown by me) with those coloured eggs. After this, I would go out with my friends to play the “Easter game” which is called “Egg knocking”.
Easter is celebrated in various ways in different corners of the world. So, I would like to tell you how we celebrate Easter in Armenia.
It is a nice tradition for us to put lentils on a tray covered with cotton some weeks before Easter and nurture them until the sprouts appear, after which we decorate the grass with eggs. The grass symbolizes the awakening of the nature.
Furthermore, some people fast and eat only vegetarian food during that time, which somehow symbolizes them freeing themselves of their sins. During the fasting period, people visit churches and confess their sins. This is mostly done by those who are religious. Another pleasant religious tradition Armenians have kept refers to the red eggs and cheorek (sweet bread). If you’d like to know more about this, you can find the information here.
Now if you, like me, would like to celebrate Easter by making some delicious dishes, then feel free to take inspiration from this Easter meal from my home town! The ingredients are:
Boiled eggs with onion skins, Greens (Lettuce salad, Boiled endive with butter, Boiled spinach with lemon, Chechil (cheese), Rice with dried fruits, Armenian Lavash, Fish).
Well, are you tired of only reading about the Easter celebrations in Armenia?, Then I have good news for you, I have got some information about the Easter celebrations in Eesti!
I’m a bit surprised to see that Estonians actually celebrate religious holidays in such a sophisticated way, as it is one of the least religious countries in the world. For this reason, I suppose they celebrate Easter more as a celebration of spring.
Easter in Estonia is celebrated from the 30th of March until the 1st of April, so, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are public holidays in Estonia, and Easter Monday is already regular day. A crucial thing to know is that the official name of Easter in Estonian is: lihavõtted.
Do you want to celebrate Easter like a real Estonian?
Here we go: On Palm Sunday, usually, Estonians bring willow branches inside as a decoration. The branches are put in a vase, where they will stand through the whole Easter period. Willow branches are the symbol of health, success and happiness.
Like most of the countries, Estonians also like to decorate eggs and start the most common Estonian holiday: Munade Moksimine, or egg competition.
Last but not least, are you eager to prepare an Estonian Easter dish?
Then here is the recipe for delightful piparkook gingerbreads for you!
- 2 kg cottage cheese
- 5 eggs
- 2 glasses heavy (whipping) cream
- 300–400 g fresh butter
- 3–4 glasses sugar (to taste)
- a pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean or some vanillin
- optional: raisins, currants, candied peel or chopped nuts
And if by any chance you are in Tallinn on April 1st, join the Easter celebrations organized by the Estonian Open Air Museum.
On behalf of the International Student Ambassadors of the University of Tartu, it is my pleasure to wish you all a very happy Easter celebration.
By the way, when in Armenia on Easter Holiday, keep in mind that if someone greets you with “Christ has arisen” you should reply, “Blessed is the resurrection of Christ” and once in Estonia : just enjoy!