The Easter Saturday on the 15th of April is the last day before Easter in Christianity, the religion of the majority of Belarusian people. However, even secular people paint eggs and bake Easter buns.
The delicious smell of baking has filled the house of Rita and Vladimir getting ready for Easter. Easter is a special occasion for their family. They have their own technique of painting Easter eggs and their own recipe for Easter buns. Their daughters are eager to help.
Rita Demidovich, mother of a large family:
We gather together at our parents’ home every year. The most exciting is ahead. That is eggs and buns blessing. We will eat them then and beat Easter eggs, which is the most interesting.
Another family lights candles on Easter eve traditionally.
Anna Gordeichik, Ross village resident (Grodno Region):
These candles symbolize divine light. When our priest visits us, we are to light them as he brings us Christ’s spirit.
It is a sacred duty to make a confession before Easter and the hostess is still busy with Easter preparation waiting for the priest to come. It is essential to have some Easter buns on the table, as it is the main symbol of the holiday, while its form can vary.
Easter has fallen on the same day in both the Catholic and Orthodox religion in 2017, which is a good sign. Preparation for the holiday started forty days before Easter. People fasted, cleaned their flats, gave themselves time for reflection and recollection of Christ’s life during the Holy Week. The last days before Easter are the most important and responsible.
Vadim Kotov, priest, dean of Christ’s Transfiguration church (town of Baran, Vitebsk Region):
The church is painted both inside and outside, the surrounding area is beautified. All this is for Easter.
Alexander, vicar, priest of the Blessed Virgin Mary cathedral:
Saturday is the day of peace and quiet, as Jesus is in his grave on this day. People say their prayers in silence. There is no singing in cathedrals. Only the organ is to play at the time of Easter service.
The Easter or Holy Saturday begins in church. Thousands of parishioners have already come with Easter symbols, which are eggs and buns.
Meanwhile, others are finishing their preparation.
Ekaterina and Vyacheslav Vertinsky:
We try to find something new every year. We bake together, decorate together and go to church all together. It is of great importance for all of us.
Stanislava Romanchuk is also getting ready for evening service, although the nearest cathedral is 5 km from her native village.
Stanislava Romanchuk, Petrashevtsy village resident (Grodno Region):
It is important to pray. I ride my bike to go to the cathedral and to pray. There are a lot of people there at Easter.
Victoria Khodosok, reporter:
Preparation for one of the main religious holidays is special pride and joy for Belarusians. Parishioners go to bless Easter buns, paskha (a Russian dessert made from curd or cream and traditionally served at Easter) and painted eggs.
The event that everyone is looking forward to at this time is divine service, when the good news, that on the Resurrection of Christ, is made known.
Thousands of Christians are expecting Holy Fire. By the way, it is to be delivered to Minsk from Jerusalem by the beginning of the main service. The Holy Fire is considered one of the wonders of the Christian faith.
Pavel, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of Belarus:
I wish everyone to celebrate Easter Sunday blissfully happy. What can be as lofty as saying “Christ is risen from the dead!” That is why I congratulate everyone and wish you all Easter bliss.
Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, archbishop, Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev:
Congratulations, dear sisters and brothers. May God’s grace fill your souls and hearts so that our whole Belarus is filled with it. Christ is risen! - Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has congratulated Christians on the coming holiday and wished everyone well-being and prosperity.