By then I already had an image of Kyiv in my head. Golden domes, wide streets, monumental post-Soviet buildings. I just didn’t know what to expect from Easter in Kyiv. Would everything be closed for that time? Or would there be too many people around so actually exploring the city would be impossible? Fortunately everything turned out to be more than fine and I was able to enjoy this most important holiday in the Orthodox Church in the very heart of it.
Already on my first afternoon in Kyiv I randomly walked into a small square turned into the fairytale land. All the trees were decorated in the most beautiful Easter eggs I’ve ever seen. The place looked incredibly colorful and certainly not real. It amazed me, right from the very beginning and I spent good half an hour just wandering around and closely inspecting all these eggs. It was incredible how beautiful they were! There were also some workshops for kids to do such Easter decorations and stands to buy these eggs. This place had already put me in the Easter spirit that I always miss in Poland.
The next day was Easter Saturday. Together with a friend who joined me on that trip we set off to see one of the jewels of Kyiv – Pechersk Lavra. It’s a true gem,the center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity and definitely the place to be on that day. There were quite many people visiting it but most of them weren’t tourist, like we were, but locals who came there to pray, light a candle and join the Easter celebrations. In the center of the complex the huge Easter egg made of small eggs was located. There was no way to forget what holiday is celebrated at that time.
Around the corner from the main monastery we saw a small gathering and decided to stop as well to see what’s going on. It turned out the young priests’ choir is about to perform. In strong, clear voices they sang some of the most beautiful religious songs I’ve ever heard!
Next morning the owner of your hostel, an extremely friendly middle-aged lady who spoke only Ukrainian (yet we have no problems with communications, though that couldn’t be said about staying there Spanish group;)) offered us some Easter goodies for breakfast. There were of course eggs and paskha – a typical holiday bread / cake, beautifully decorated. I haven’t tried paskha before but it was really delicious and I even brought some back home.
In every Orthodox church we visited on that day we saw people with huge baskets full of food, ready to have them blessed. Sure, we do that in Poland too, on Easter Saturday, but it’s more symbolic. In Ukraine everything was much more festive. The baskets were beautifully and colorfully decorated, the food inside was in big amounts (we have only one slice of bread in our basktes, there people had the whole loafs). The excitement was felt in the air when the priest appeared ready to do the blessing. He didn’t scant the water and soon I was all wet as well, even if I stood somewhere in the back. But that made the whole experience much funnier!
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I’m really glad my weekend away in Kyiv happened to be during Easter holidays. Even if all the celebrations were similar to the ones we have in Poland it was interesting to be in Ukraine in that time, being the part of all the happenings. The atmosphere in the city was different, I could easily feel that it’s not just another random day, that something is going on. And that makes my trip to Kyiv special. If I have a chance to travel somewhere else during some holidays I wouldn’t hestitate!
Have you ever happened to be a part of some celebrations you don’t have back at home?
If you think of visiting Ukraine or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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