“Христос воскрес!”: Orthodox Easter Celebrations
The night between April 27th and 28th was a very exciting time for the Orthodox people in Gagauzia. For Orthodox believers, this celebration is the most important of their calendar and they live it with much passion.
In Comrat, the believers gathered in the Church, where the vigil Mass took place. With this Mass they celebrate Christ's resurrection and it puts an end to the long fast of almost 50 days, which they consider an action of purification. The celebration of the Mass begins at midnight on Saturday, when everyone circles around the church, counterclockwise, carrying candles and singing prayers.
According to the tradition, believers gather overnight in the church, where they come with their Easter baskets filled with typical products: the traditional "Pasjas" (a dessert cooked with cheese) and "Kulich" (a kind of sponge-cake), Easter eggs with different decorations and, of course, wine.
Inside the church, believers wait for hours for the great moment when the priests announce the resurrection of Christ. In the atmosphere one can feel the emotion of the people, both old and not so old, who listen attentively to the moving songs of the choir.
Mass ended at around four o'clock on Sunday morning, when the priests announced Christ's resurrection. It is at that moment that the priests bless the baskets of the parishioners by throwing holy water.
For the next 40 days, Orthodox people greet each other saying “Христос воскрес!” (“Christ is risen”), whose answer is: “Bоистину воскрес!” (“Indeed, he is risen!”).