Old Easter Traditions and Beliefs in Slavic World

This year Good Friday falls on April 14 and Easter Monday is on April 17. Since very old times, the Easter week is a holy time for every Slavic nation. Numerous traditions, customs, rules, omens, signs and superstitions have developed through centuries in connection with Easter festivities. As this is the time of very changeable, early-spring weather, lots of beliefs and popular superstitions are connected with observations of weather on the Easter week. Here are some of them, which have been observed through centuries by the Slavic peoples.


In order to make really good and tasty Easter cakes (called “пасхи” [pAshi]), it was advised that all family behaved quietly. No one was allowed to speak loudly in the house while the women were busy baking.

When the pashi and easter effs were cooked and decorated, they were taken to the church and “holified” there. After the ritual, the master of every house had to quickly carry the easter cake(s) to his home. The tradition was based on the belief that the family that reaches their home first after the church service, will get a better harvest that year and will be the first to finish their work on the fields.


A few other traditions were also strictly observed and followed-

  1. To keep the family life peaceful and happy, the whole family had to begin their holiday Easter meal together. All members of the family were expected to take their places around the table and everyone has to eat a piece of the “holified” Easter cake in the first place.
  2. Young women believed that, if they hit their elbow against a wall or a door that day, they would soon meet their fiancé and get married.
  3. If the Easter day was rainly, it was expected that the whole spring and the early summer would be rainly, too.
  4. If the day was sunny, it meant that the harvest would be good that year.
  5. The one who was the first to see the sunrise on the Easter morning was supposed to be happy all the year round.
  6. The elderly people brushed their hair on this day and counted the hairs that remained on the comb: that was supposed to be the number of grand-children which they would have.
  7. Young couples would kiss under a strong tree on the Easter day to make sure their relationship would be happy.


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