Easter is a wonderful time to be in Ukraine. The holiday falls on a different date in the Eastern and Western Christian worlds - and this year we are celebrating one week behind the west. One of our traditions is having the ingredients of the Easter breakfast blessed at your local parish. The priest also gave a short sermon on the need to keep Christ's resurrection as the central focus of Easter.
When I was in Poland last week working on getting my visa - I just kept thinking about how badly I wanted to be home in time for the blessing of the baskets. It's such an important part of the holiday - and the tradition is really beautiful. I thankfully made it home with plenty of time to spare. The rain kept me from going to the outdoor blessing service (at a large church in the suburbs, it is attended by hundreds and really spectacular)so I went to the church closest to my apartment.
I don't usually take photographs inside churches because, as a general rule, I find it disrespectful. But, I wasn't the only one with a camera, today, and I justified that as long as my basket was in the photo it was still just a photo of my basket. This is also a church where I routinely go to pray or worship. It's really beautiful, is a music focused congregation, and is tucked away from all the tourists. There is always a choir or soloist practicing and it's the perfect place to come and pray.
No one looked at my basket funny - so I guess I gathered the right things together. (You are supposed to bring hard-boiled eggs - but I don't eat them and no one will be the wiser that mine were raw!) This is just the beginning of celebrating Easter. I look forward to the 3 hour long midnight service tonight as well as the celebration to be held tomorrow at the United Methodist congregation.