Easter in Moldova

The celebration of Easter begins with the liturgy in church. It differs from many other common divine services. It begins in the middle of the night in every church of Moldova. A little hint: you have to come earlier or you’ll stay outside because at this very night all the churches are overcrowded.

Every year the Gracious Fire is brought from Jerusalem to Moldova in the Holy Night. The authority of the country, priests and common people wait for the fire in the central Cathedral in Chisinau. The candles are lit from this very fire brought from Jerusalem. Then the candles as the symbols of the faith and blessing go to many other churches, monasteries, and houses of Moldova.

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The priest consecrates the brought dishes after the end of the liturgy. According to the tradition the basket must be full of pasca, Easter cake or “cozonac”, red-dyed eggs, salt and wine.

Coming out believers exchange a triple kiss and greet each other with the words “Christ is risen!” – “Truly He is risen!”. The whole week every volunteer has the right to ring church bells.

The Easter feast starts upon coming back home. It is necessary to add, that ceremonial dishes – pasca and Easter cake are baked beforehand on Thursday of Holy Week. The same time eggs are dyed. Housewives usually cook a lot of food because it is a custom to share Easter food to everybody.

The Easter celebration continues for forty days. It is due to the Bible where Christ revealed himself to his disciples after the Holy Sunday.  On the 40th day Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. Usually people visit each other all the week after the Holy Sunday. The only thing the priests warn against is that the celebration of Easter should not turn into the sin of gluttony and of course it should not be turned into drunkenness.

The second Sunday after Easter in Moldova there is a holiday called “Pastele Blajinilor”, which translates roughly to “Easter of the Gentle”. People bring flowers to the graves of their family and friends, and exchange gifts with others who came to mourn on this day.

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