Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ukrainian Easter Bazaar

I have mentioned before that I am Ukrainian. My grandparents came to the U.S. from the Ukraine long ago. I grew up going to the local Ukrainian church in Chesapeake City, also known as "The Little Ukraine" because of the large Ukrainian population. A few weeks ago while looking for a Ukrainian Easter Basket cover for my mom online I found there was an Easter Bazaar in Washington DC that weekend. The bazaar was at the UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC NATIONAL SHRINE of the HOLY FAMILY. The church is across from Catholic University of America. So...Paula and I were off to the bazaar. Paula recently took a pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs) decorating class. When I was younger my mom and I would make them too. It is very time intense and delicate, but what a beautiful product. We were on a mission to find pysanky kits, Pierogi, and the Easter Basket Cover. These are traditional Ukrainian embroidered Easter (Pascha) Basket covers that are used to cover your Easter Basket. There is a tradition in the Ukrainian Churches that a basket filled with the traditional Easter Bread, salt, butter, cheese, horseradish, kobasa and Pysanky. It is then covered by the cloth and taken to church on Easter morning to be blessed by the priest. After church, you take the basket home and have an Easter breakfast with those items with your family.

We took the metro from Silver Spring to the church. We weren't sure where we were going, but we found it, how can you miss a church with gold onion domes and a huge tower of bells?

We made it inside. The church hall was downstairs. They had a large display of kielbasa and other meats for sale, vendors, lunch and a pysanky class. We had a delicious lunch with stuffed cabbage, pierogies, saurkraut and kielbasa.

After eating, we bought pierogies to take home. We used the "Vera" Vera Bradley bag to carry our goodies.

We went into the church upstairs. It was new and very modern. The alter was typical Ukrainian and looked like the one in my church. The Ukrainian Church and the Roman Catholic Church are very similar, but different especially in the customs and traditions of each. However, they both follow the Pope. One difference in the Roman Catholic Rite and the Byzantine Catholic Rite (Ukrainian) is the art in the church. The Byzantine rite has lots of icons all over the church with gold. The Roman Catholic churches have more contemporary art work.

The church is raising money to have the ceiling and wall look like this:

In the hall they had eggs on display all over. We bought pysanky decorating kits (hopefully we'll get around to making a few after Easter). I also found basket covers, paska (ukrainian bread), and some wooden pysanky.
The art of making these eggs goes back many years, approximately the year 988 A.D. That is when the Ukrainians accepted Christianity, and that's when the egg's symbols took on different meanings. According to Ukrainian legend, people decorated eggs believing that great powers were embodied in the egg. To them, eggs symbolized the release of the earth from the shackles of winter and the coming of spring with its promises of new hope, new life and prosperity, and that as long as pysanky were decorated, goodness would prevail over evil throughout the world.

On our way back to the metro station we walked through Catholic University. This is the Roman Catholic Church on the campus.

To read more about the difference in the Ukrainian Catholic Church (Eastern Rite) and the Roman Catholic Church check here.

Христос воскресе (Xristos voskrese) Christ is Risen
воистину воскресе (voistinu voskrese) Indeed he is Risen


Victoria Williams said...

What a great post. Thanks, really enjoyed reading it.

Victoria Williams said...

Did you see MStewart's blog about Ukranian Paska bread?
Made me think of you.

ginger said...

This was so interesting!!

Auburn Kat said...

It sounds a lot like the Polish traditions!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely surprise to find your blog and post when I was searching for Ukrainian Easter blog posts! I am a member of Holy Family but was unable to attend the Easter Bazaar this year so it was nice to see your photos of the event. Happy Easter to you and your family!
Natalie G.