Serbian and Russian Orthodox Churches follow Julian calendar. Easter does not have fixed date neither in Western nor Eastern Churches. It is related to Jewish holiday of Pesach, and cannot be broken apart. However, Western and Eastern Churches calculate Easter in different manners.
This year the Orthodox Easter is celebrated on Sunday, May 1
Serbs consider Easter the most joyful holiday along with Christmas. Preparations for this holy day start seven weeks before, with Great Lent; which has several holidays with quite interesting customs:
Good Friday – Veliki Petak (April 29) is the day when all Christians mourn the unjustified crucifiction of Christ. It is traditional that nothing is done on this day, but decorating Easter eggs. There is a beautiful custom in Serbia – to decorate eggs with flowers, leafs and/or wax; which gives them quite special note. Traditionally eggs are being boiled with onion skin, which gives them deep bordeaux color
Egg has been a symbol of new life since the ancient times; and red color depicts blood of Christ and His Ressurection. This is why the eggs are paint in red. Even today, the first painted egg has to be yellow; and is called “Čuvarkuća“– Guardian of the Home. It is kept besides the icon until next Easter.
Easter is considered the greatest day in Christianity, because on that very day Christ has defeated death by Ressurection. Serbs call it Uskrs or Vaskrs, which literally means „Ressurection“. Church bells are ringing throughout Serbia, and festivity may begin. Children are especially waiting for because of the tradition, or better said – competition in cracking eggs. The first thing we get and eat on Easter is the egg. Even if we have guests – first they get an egg, and then they will be served. On this day, and the next 40 days we greet each other with words „Hristos vaskrse! (or voskrese – this is archaic word)“ which means „Christ has ressurected!“. The proper reply to this greet is „Vaistinu vaskrse!“, which means – „Truly has ressurected!“ With this greet we tap the Easter eggs, and the one with strongest egg is the winner.