The celebration of Easter begins with the liturgy in church. It begins in the middle of the night in every church of Moldova. We recommend you to come earlier or you will 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. Officials 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 faith and blessing go to many other churches, monasteries, and houses of Moldova. After the end of the liturgy the priest consecrates all dishes, brought by believers. According to the tradition the basket must be full of paskha, Easter cake or “kozonak”, eggs dyed in red, “babele”—(babky—sweet pudding made of noodles or macaroni), sugar and salt.
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 – paskha and Easter cakes 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.
Except traditional meals and eggs, baked lamb is prepared for the festive table. Rolls made of veal, baked rabbit, ham, goose or turkey are served as well. It is necessary to have as many meals as possible, in order to emphasize that the fasting is over and the Holy Celebration has come into each house!
The Museum of Nature and Ethnography traditionally organizes the Easter exhibition, the main competition of artists painting eggs. Famous artisans from Moldova, Ukraine and Romania come here to show their talents. Any visitor can participate in a master-class on painting eggs.