Orthodox Easter, the most joyful Christian holiday, is just around the corner. The holiday comes in spring, the most beautiful time of the year when nature is awakening. The family gathers and celebrates life.
A forty-day fast precedes Easter. Fasting in Orthodox Church considers abstaining from certain foods like animal and dairy products to purify their bodies and mind. On the Good Friday, two days before Easter, all Christians grieve the crucifixion of Christ. Traditionally, nothing is done on this day but decorating Easter eggs.
Eggs are a symbol of new life. All children look forward to the Easter tradition of dying eggs while the whole family participates in decorating them. It is a custom to dyed eggs red because that color symbolizes the blood of Christ and His Ressurection. In Serbia, we call the first egg colored in red "Čuvarkuća" meaning "guardian of the home". We believe it has a specific power so we keep it in the house for a whole year. We usually bury an egg from last Easter in the yard or somewhere near the house or in the field to protect the family and crops.
Our grandmothers cherish the tradition of boiling eggs with onions skin, giving them a nice red color. Often they decorate eggs with flowers and leaves. The procedure is to stick a flower or a leaf to an egg and wrap it up in a nylon sock. Then, you put onion skins in a pot and boil the eggs. Try out this we are sure you will love it.
On Easter Sunday, church bells ring throughout our country, and it is customary to greet one another with the phrase, "Christ is Risen!" and the response is, "Truly He is Risen!"
The celebration begins when the family gathers around the dining table, filled with colorful eggs and many traditional dishes prepared for this occasion. Special loaves with whole eggs are baken and exchanged between families and friends. They enjoy appetizers of smoked meats and domestic cheeses, homemade pastries, and salads, and the main dish is usually spit-roasted lamb.
Of course, a part that all children adore is knocking the eggs. The breaking of the eggshell represents the beginning of a new life. This custom brings so much fun and laughter. Family members start to compete. Everyone chooses an egg and compares its strength by smashing one egg against the other, and the uncracked egg is the winner. It is typically that the older ones rub children's cheeks with a red egg so that they will be rosy and healthy all year.
If you are staying in Serbia at this time of the year, be sure that you will be well hosted and create memories that you will never forget.