May 5, 2013
Ukrainians are celebrating an Easter. Happy Easter everyone in Ukraine
and Ukrainians abroad!
I am Ukrainian too, and this Easter is very special for me, because I got a special gift from a very special lady, Daria Iwasko from
York. Daria is originally from Lviv, West
Ukraine, and she does an amazing art of beading (my favorite art,
by the way).
Earlier I told you a story that Daria does a unique project – she beads flags of different countries on eggs.
As I am Ukrainian-Canadian, she did one for me, a Canadian flag on an egg, and gave me as a gift.
And it was a great surprise for me to get another Easter egg-flag from Daria – a Ukrainian one! Yay!
So now I have both flags on eggs: Ukrainian one and Canadian one! Thank you so much, dear Daria!
Along with Ukrainian flag on egg, I got another beaded Easter egg from Daria Iwasko – with Ukrainian pattern on it, so it’s looks like embroidered one:
And here are all the beautiful, bright, colorful and oh so artistic Easter egg from Daria Iwasko in my collection:
May your Ukrainian Easter be that beautiful, bright, colorful and cheerful and like these beaded eggs from Ukrainian-American artist and simply amazing person Daria Iwasko! Thank you again, Daria! Happy Ukrainian Easter!
If you read this story, you know about Ukrainian Easter food; you know about a blessing of food baskets in Ukraine for an Easter; you know about Ukrainian Easter breakfast/brunch traditions; and finally, you know what food has to be in Ukrainian Easter basket –
Paska which is egg bread, a sweet one, with raisins
Hard boiled eggs; decorated
Meat items – sausage, preferably a garlic one; ham; smoked bacon, in one piece
Cottage or farmer cheese
And also you know that Ukrainian Easter basket has to be nicely decorated for the blessing in a church.
I would say very nicely decorated! Beautifully decorated! As I am originally from
(a western part of the country) I used to decorate my own food basket for every
Easter (here you can see my baskets from different years), but I have realized
that my decorating skills are very modest, compare to WHAT I saw on the
pictures of known American-Ukrainian photographer Tania D’Avignon.
Tania took whole bunch of pictures of Easter food baskets art in the
Ternopil's'ka oblast, village of H oroshova West Ukraine, and made a book –
Ukrainian Easter Baskets. The book is dedicated to Olesia and Vasyl Kozak from Horoshova. Olesia and Vasyl are wonderful people and very good friends of
is located in Borshchiv district, Ternopil's'ka oblast. The district is known
for its greenhouses business. Almost every family in that area has a greenhouse
and grows tomatoes and cucumbers for sale. One little Borshchiv area is
supplying many big cities of village of H oroshova Ukraine
with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. People of Borshchiv district make a living
out of their greenhouses for years. And the is called Tomatoes and
Cucumbers Capital of Ukraine! Which means greenhouses business is really well developed
is the village! village
of H oroshova
Another big attraction of the
is famous annual
Malanka Carnival on Old Style New Year (January 13-14). This is a costumed
event, with lots of humor, music, stage plays, and, of course, a good food! village
Back to the food we are talking about – an Easter food – time to show you how Tania D’Avignon’s book about Ukrainian Easter baskets from Horoshova is look like:
You know, I can get a feeling of Ukrainian Easter just looking at this cover! I can FEEL the festivity of Easter baskets blessing – the feeling is very familiar from my life in
opening up an embroidered cover of the basket; lighting up the candle; looking
at the neighbors baskets – how it is decorated, what is in the baskets; waiting
for the priests and sprinkles of Holy Water on your basket and your face :) And
aromas of freshly smoked meats in your basket and freshly baked egg bread
Paska… It’s Ukrainian Easter!! Yay!
Well, as I told you, I saw a lot of beautifully decorated Easter food baskets in my life. I am decorating my own Easter Basket, every year. But what I saw at the Tania’s pictures from the
, made a big impression
even on me, a girl who is born in a small Ukrainian town – I have never seen
something like this before! Must be one creative village, this Horoshova! village
of H oroshova
For example, normally, when Ukrainian woman of the house is preparing her Easter food basket for a blessing in a church, she just put butter and a cottage cheese in a pretty dish – that’s about it. But ladies from the villages of Horoshova definitely run an extra mile in their baskets designs – take a look at this tiny fuzzy ram made out of… butter! Wow! What a work!
Or the boiled egg-chicks and egg-piggy on a next picture:
Did you notice also a cucumber and tomato in the basket? They are not really “must have” items of Ukrainian Easter basket; but they are local food staples and local pride of Horoshova, so why they shouldn't be blessed as well?
And next picture, I would say, the next basket on the picture, for my opinion, is a masterpiece! A masterpiece of a culinary art and of an Easter festivity! A cold-cut sausage rose; a cottage cheese and cold-cut flower; a ram made out of butter; another rose made out of smalets (pork fat) with beet sprinkles; poppy seeds and sunflower seeds hedgehog’s family (what the hedgehog made out of, I don’t know but I bet it’s tasty!):
More of these beautiful pictures from Horoshova are in Tania D’Avignon’s book Ukrainian Easter Basket.
To order the book, please contact Tania D'Avignon directly.
To order the book, please contact Tania D'Avignon directly.
And if you are really passionate about
Ukrainian life and traditions, here is another Tania’s book, a very popular for
many years – Simply Ukraine
Easter for Ukrainians it is a second big celebration, after Christmas. I would say, Easter has much wider meaning for every Ukrainian than just a religion meaning – it is a celebration of a spring spirit and a celebration of good food. It is a perfect reason for families and friends to get together.
Church : Edmonton,
Canada, Easter 2010
40 days before the Easter Ukrainians have to keep a tradition of the Great Lent – meat free, dairy free and egg free. In other words, it is like a
cleaning of your health, especially after a long and snowy winter.
Meat, eggs and dairy products, according to the Greek-Catholic and Orthodox traditions (two major religions in
Ukraine) you allowed to eat on an Easter day and all the days after that – till next
Also, you cannot simply eat meat, eggs and dairy on an Easter Sunday without blessing your food in a church first, so you have to prepare your Easter food basket. Preparing such a basket it is really big deal for every Ukrainian, especially for the women of the house (normally in
all the cooking, baking and preserving food done by women).
So, what is has to be in a Ukrainian Easter food basket?
Pysankas, which are nicely decorated hard boiled eggs (with shells on – otherwise, how can you decorate?)
Paska, which is sweet egg bread with raisins
Meat products – sausages (mostly garlic ones), ham, smoked bacon (whole piece)
Horseradish root or horseradish with beets (very often both)
Dairy products – butter, cottage cheese or farmer cheese
These are traditional basics. Other food items that you maybe want to put in your Easter basket are optional. Nowadays I saw plenty of different things people are bringing to bless, like fruits and vegetables, cookies, candies, chocolate etc. Actually, yes, you can fill up your Easter basket with any kind of foods you like, but those traditional basic products for blessing are MUST. Very-very basics are eggs, Paska (sweet egg bread), sausage and a horseradish, so you can skip dairy products, if you didn't have time to prepare them or some other reason. That’s what I, when I used to live in Ukraine (I was born over there), normally did for Easter food – I just kept my eye on basics when it was time to prepare my Easter basket; and that's what busy hardworking people in Ukraine do for their Easter food – taking care of very basic items – eggs, bread, meat and horseradish.
Well, take a look at my best friend Olya’s and my Easter food baskets from different years - when Olya and I used to live in
Another big deal for every Ukrainian lady preparing her Easter basket is to decorate the basket nicely – with some greenery, like vinca, myrtus or fern, and some painted wooden Easter eggs or beaded Easter eggs, a candle and an embroidered cover.
A blessing an Easter food baskets is held on Saturday night, before the Easter Sunday, or very early at the morning, on an Easter Sunday – depend on a church schedule.
The ceremony of blessing is really, really nice and festive. Ukrainians like to bring entire family, with kids and grand-kids to a ceremony. People are lining up with their Easter food baskets on the church's front yard, waiting for a priest with Holy Water to bless the baskets. Just like here, in one of the churches in the city of
So, an Easter food baskets are blessed! On an Easter Sunday morning Ukrainians traditionally have an Easter breakfast. Or Easter brunch, if time is close to afternoon.
Here is a picture of my best friend Olya, preparing an Easter brunch - it was an Easter 2007 in Ukraine:
As you can see, nothing fancy on the table; additionally to traditional Easter food items, Olya put some marinated tomatoes, a bottle of good red wine and sliced rye bread, for the meat. That’s how an Easter brunch table looks like nowadays in a modern Ukrainian hardworking family (here is more about modern Easter in Ukraine).
When I used to live in
I served a similar festive table for my family – on the picture below, it was an
After I moved to
I keep Ukrainian traditions for an Easter - my husband and I have a Ukrainian
Easter brunch every year for our family and friends.
Here are few pictures from celebration of Ukrainian Easter 2012 in our Canadian home. The brunch is served – hard boiled eggs, meat cold cuts, raisin bread, rye bread and beets-horseradish:
Actually, I could make deviled eggs – they would look beautifully in this caddie (well, maybe, this year), but I wanted to keep a Ukrainian tradition when hard boiled eggs suppose to be eaten with a horseradish side. Living in
besides having a beets-horseradish on an Easter table, I liked to grate
a horseradish root itself, on a top of eggs. I can do it now in Canada
– finally I am growing my own horseradish at our garden!
Happy Ukrainian Easter 2013 to everyone who celebrates it!