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The common religious Easter greeting is for one person to say "Христос воскрес!" (Christ has risen!), followed by a reply from another person with "Воистину воскрес!" (Truly he has risen!).
Russian Easter Eggs and Blinchiki
Russian Easter Cake (Kulich)
Most Russians celebrate Easter (the Christian holiday where Christ rose from the dead) according to the Orthodox Christian calendar. Therefore, the Russian Easter celebration usually falls on a different date to Western Easter, and can follow it by one week, four weeks, or five weeks. On rare occasions both Easters occur on the same Sunday, as happened in 2007.
On the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday, Orthodox Russians gather in the church and take part in an Easter vigil commemorating the buried Christ. Usually Orthodox churches have an inner sanctuary that is blocked off from sight of the worshipers by a closed door, signifying that the way to God is closed. But at the stroke of midnight the priest throws the doors open and emerges, shouting, "Christ is risen! Christ is risen! Christ is risen!" After hours of silent anticipation the congregation comes to life and shouts back, "Truly He has risen!".
A mainstay of Russian Orthodox Easter celebrations is the family Easter dinner following the church services. On eve of Easter people cook special dishes, such as rich cottage cheese cakes (Pascha) or tall sponge cakes with icing (Kulich).
Unlike Western Easter, Russians do not usually swap chocolate Easter eggs (and almost none have ever heard of the Easter Bunny!). Instead, Russian children and their mothers often dye hard-boiled eggs a red colour, using the peel of spanish onions, that symbolises the blood of Christ. The children take great pleasure cracking each others' eggs, and as the eggs are cracked and the whites exposed people remember that the blood of Christ cleanses them from sin. Sins that were scarlet have been made as white as snow. This custom was derived from ancient times when Mary Magdalene came to Emperor Tiberius with a gift of a red egg, which she delivered with the salutation "Christ has risen!".
On Easter Sunday people greet each other with three kisses and the words "Христос воскрес" (Christ has risen) and the reply "Воистину воскрес" (truly He has risen).
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