Orthodox Christians celebrating Easter
This year Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter on May 1, they greet each other with the words: 'Christ is risen!' and the traditional response: 'Truly He is risen!'
The Resurrection of Christ, in relation to the Crucifixion, constitutes the essence of the Christian Easter, which is the center of the celebrations of worship of God in the Orthodox Church.
In Ukraine, Easter, which is the most important religious holiday of the year, is known as Velykden (The Great Day) and always takes place on Sunday. Special Easter services are held in churches across the country.
On Saturday night, Orthodox Christians go to church for the Easter service which lasts until morning. In the morning, priests bless the food baskets brought by believers.
Read alsoCrux: Pope announces April 24 collection for UkraineTraditionally, many families celebrate the day with a special Easter meal consisting of the Paskha, or Paska (a type of Easter bread), and eggs colored mainly in red. Red is believed to represent the blood of Christ.
The Paska is a baked cake decorated with glaze and sprinkles. The Ukrainian traditions say that one must necessarily eat at least one piece of it. The egg tapping game, or egg knocking, is also common in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko greeted the nation with Easter on Saturday evening.
"These days we commemorate thousands of our defenders who gave their lives for our belief and our freedom, our country, we remember everyone who died because of Russian aggression. We are praying gratefully for everyone who guarded us during the Easter night, " President Poroshenko said in his official address.
Prior to Easter Sunday late on April 30, a delegation of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate arrived in Kyiv from Jerusalem with the Holy Fire. Orthodox traditions hold that the Holy Fire is a miracle that happens annually on the day preceding Orthodox Easter.
This year the Holy Fire was first brought to Kyiv's St. Volodymyr Cathedral, and then it was sent to the west of Ukraine, in particular, to the city of Lutsk.
After the Easter Sunday, a delegation of Orthodox Christian priests plans to bring the Holy Fire to the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) zone in the east of Ukraine where Kyiv Patriarchate chaplains have been serving.
Easter does not end with Easter Day. The whole week after Easter people gather on cemeteries where their family members are buried, bringing Easter food with them.