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Monday, 21 April 2014

296: A tale of two tables

Today is Easter Monday here in UK. It is what we call a Bank Holiday so many shops and businesses are closed. Larger shops are open and often hold special sales to attract customers in through their doors. I'm not a big fan of shopping but today I might make an exception as I'm on the hunt for a new computer for the house - the current one is on its last legs.
The two pictures here are for quite different occasions. The one on the left shows a table in my house set out for Easter and the one on the right a table at my sister's house laden with birthday cards.

By coincidence Russian Пасха and English Easter fall on the same weekend this year. This rarely happens as the dates for Easter are calculated using different calendars (Julian and Gregorian). 
The origins of the two words are quite different too. 
The Russian пасха (paskha) comes from the Jewish word Pasque which means Passing with Christ to the other life. This day people greet each other with the words “Christ is risen” (Khristos voskres) and get a reply of “Indeed risen” (Voistinu voskres). After that it is a custom to hug and kiss three times, symbolising belief, hope and love. Russian Easter foods include Kulich (Russian Easter Bread), Paskha (dish made of cottage cheese, raisins and nuts) and eggs. In Russia, there is no custom of chocolate eggs or bunnies. We colour real eggs for the celebration. (My thanks to "Natasha from Russia" 's facebook entry for this explanation of Easter). 
In UK, the feast day of Easter was originally a celebration of renewal and rebirth in honour of Eastre the pagan Saxon Goddess of Spring.  When the early missionaries converted the Saxons to Christianity the holiday, since it fell around the same time as the traditional memorial of Christ's resurrection from the dead, was merged with the pagan celebration.

Today Russia celebrates Easter. It is one of the most important Russian holidays. Easter is called Paskha in Russian. It comes from Jewish word Pasque which means Passing with Christ to the other life. This day people greet each other with the words “Christ is risen” (Khristos voskres) and get a reply of “Indeed risen” (Voistinu voskres). After that it is a custom to hug and kiss three times, symbolising belief, hope and love.

Russian Easter foods include Kulich (Russian Easter Bread), Paskha (dish made of cottage cheese, raisins and nuts) and eggs. In Russia, there is no custom of chocolate eggs or bunnies. We colour real eggs for the celebration. The common way of colouring is by using an onion peal.

For today's video I have chosen a clip of Chris de Burgh singing Moonlight and Vodka. I hadn't heard this song before until it was pointed out by one of my students - thank you Anton.




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