Easter Customs of Hutsuls
Easter Day, established by the Christian church as the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated by Hutsuls with numerous rites and rituals.
On Palm Sunday, the Hutsuls bring the blessed willow branches from the church (In Hutsulshchyna It Is called “Biechka”), hit lightly every member of the family saying: “it’s not me, its Biechka hitting you – the Easter Day is in a week!” Hutsuls believed that the blessed willow branches had healing powers, because these branches were used to greet Jesus Christ.
The days before Easter are the time for making Pysankas, Paskas (Easter bread), Pysankas and Krashankas (painted and colored eggs), cheese, butter, sausages, ham and salt were put into an Easter basket to be blessed in church. The “bitter herb” (i.e. horseradish) was essential as it represented the bitterness of Christ’s sufferings, as well as a wax candle symbolizing the divine light and Christ’s resurrection. Rich Gazdas (landlords) rode to the church, while poor people just walked.
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