Monday, April 19, 2010

Easter: Paska and Pysanky

I know, Easter is already long past.   And Easter is one of the most significant holidays in Ukraine, with a host of food traditions surrounding it.  I keep thinking that I will get to a long post about various Easter foods and traditions, and don't quite get to it.  So instead, I decided to just share some pictures taken around Kyiv this year and point readers to some additional information.  And of course, share your stories and photos with us!

First--paska.  The photos at the top of the post show several different kinds of paska, the Ukrainian Easter bread.  The one on the top was made for me by my friend Valentyna--it's just a small one.  The ones on the bottom were on display at an event at the Ivan Honchar Museum here in Kyiv--they are from different regions, each of whom had their own traditional style.   Many people bake their own paska, but the stores and markets are filled with ones to purchase.  Below, the dairy ladies at Bessarabka Market also have paska for sale before Easter.  Want to try making your own or learning more?  click here for a recipe and more information.

Next--pysanky--the painted eggs that are probably the best known Ukrainian Easter tradition.   Just before Easter, vendors spring up selling painted eggs--some are raw eggs, some have had the yolk and white blown out, and others are wooden ones. Pysanky date back to pre-Christian times and are usually done with a wax-resist method.  For a slide show and more information from the Ukrainian Museum in New York, click here.   The two pictures below show pysanky purchased in two different cities.  The first picture are ones are from Kyiv, the second from L'viv.

And finally,  the Easter basket.   In the US, we think of an Easter basket as a children's activity, filled with candy and brought by the Easter bunny.  Here in Ukraine, a basket is filled with  food and taken to the church to be blessed.   Below, a list of traditional foods that should be included (thanks for the information) but I have seen many other foods in the basket--snack foods, soda, vodka--as the tradition grows continues but also becomes contemporary.

PASKAPlace a candle into the center of the paska and light it when the priest begins the blessing ceremony.
PYSANKYEaster eggs, new ones every year
KRASHANKYdyed eggs - variety of colors, but there must be a red one
EGGShard boiled and peeled
SALTa small amount
BUTTERshould be nicely shaped and decorated with whole cloves and placed on a small dish or on top of the cheese
CHEESEsweet cheese: mix farmer cheese with confectionery sugar, raisins, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Place on a dish and on top you can place the butter.
HORSERADISHa piece of the root or prepared horseradish with beets
KOVBASAsausage - a small ring

And finally, some pictures of Kyivans with their baskets on Easter weekend and a priest blessing baskets at St. Volodomyr.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful eggs! We have a very similar Polish tradition called Święconka - the blessing of the easter baskets.