Easter in Russia is one of the most important Russian holidays. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter according to the Orthodox calendar, and it can occur in April or May. Like many countries in Eastern Europe, Russians celebrate Easter with decorated eggs and special foods and customs.
The Russian Easter egg tradition dates back to pre-Christian times when people saw eggs as fertility symbols and as devices of protection. When Orthodoxy was adopted, eggs took on Christian symbolism. One example of this is how red eggs symbolize the blood of Christ. (Read more about red in Russian culture
Russians celebrate Easter with an Easter breakfast or Easter meal. Russian Easter foods include kulich (Russian Easter bread), paskha (a dish made from cheese and other ingredients, usually formed into the shape of a pyramid), eggs, and other foods. Sometimes the food is blessed by the church before being eaten. Other traditions accompany the consumption of Russian Easter foods. Eggs may be cracked with nails as a reminder of Christ. Additionally, one egg may be cut into pieces - one piece for each family member at the Easter table.
The Russian Easter service may be attended even by those families that do not regularly attend church. Russian Easter service is held Saturday evening. Midnight serves as the high point of the service, at which point bells are rung and the priest says, "Christ is risen!" The congregation replies with, "He is truly risen!"