Easter in Serbia

Easter in Serbia

In different countries, Easter is celebrated in different ways and Serbia is no exception. Everything begins with period of fasting that purifies bodies and minds of Christians. Maundy Thursday is usually spent with family, followed by Great Friday when Jesus was captured, tried and sentenced.  On this day, Holy liturgies are performed to mark all of the important events that led up to Christ’s death on the cross.

Eggs are center of Easter iconography. According to a legend, Mary Magdalen took red dyed eggs to Roman Emperor Tiberius when Jesus resurrected transferring in this symbolic way massage of eternal life. This is why eggs are painted throughout the world during Easter.

In Serbia they are traditionally painted in specific way. Onion peals are boiled in water hence producing predominantly reddish to brown color. Eggs are boiled in that water and decorated with various grass patterns that are applied during boiling within improvised casings, mostly nylon socks.

Firstly dyed egg is known as “Cuvarkuca” or “Guardian of the house” roughly translated, and it should stay within the house until next year’s Easter. The old “Cuvarkuca” should be buried in the field in order to protect crops.

On Easter Sunday, people get up early, greet each other with traditional “Hristos voskrese” (Christ Resurrected) followed by “Vaistinu voskrese” (Indeed Resurrected) and usually start the day with traditional egg fight.  Every family member picks his own egg and owner of the last surviving egg should be accompanied by good luck throughout the next year. Normally, eggs are exchanged between families and sometimes rubbed against children’s cheeks so that they would spend the next year in good health.