On Holy Thursday Bulgarians Traditionally Paint the Easter Eggs
Today, Holy Thursday, the Orthodox Church commemorates a number of events in the last days of Jesus Christ related to his saving work for humanity.
Easter eggs are traditionally painted, the first of which is red. It is used to make a sign of the cross on the foreheads of the children and then of everyone in the family. The next egg, which is left in the church on Saturday night, after the festive liturgy, is also painted red.
With the services, the Orthodox Church recalls a number of events from the last days of Jesus Christ, related to his saving work for humanity. These are the sacred washing of the feet of the apostles, the Last Supper with them, the prayer of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, his trial, and His atoning sufferings on the Cross.
On Holy Thursday, the church recalls how at the Last Supper with the apostles, Christ instituted Holy Communion. Many believers who observe Lent partake of the holy mysteries - the body and blood of Christ.
"Communion is to become partakers, to be united with Christ through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and so we will have a life of the soul, an eternal life."
After St. Basil's Liturgy, a Great Mass is celebrated for all Christians, during which oil is consecrated.
The Commissioning of the Twelve Apostles is celebrated in the evening. Gospel passages are read, which are dedicated to the atoning sufferings of Christ.
"At these services the soul is filled with trembling, we sing ‘glory to your long patience, Lord, that you endured the sufferings of the cross for our salvation.’"
On Holy Thursday, the yeast is renewed and the dough for the Easter bread is kneaded.
In the Yambol region, older women still remember how they observed the tradition more than 80 years ago.
87-year-old Elena Nikolova from Bolyarovo tells how more than half a century ago in the village of Sinapovo they were preparing for Easter.
"Eggs are painted on Holy Thursday! We paint the eggs! We gather the children and when we paint, the first egg must be red. There were no dyes - plants, snake dock, a brooch of grass. We used everything that made colors. From some we made red from others yellow”
"Kozunak" (Easter cake) in the 1940s was still unknown at the border region.
"Once upon a time, my mother kneaded only cookies and we made chickpea bread from chickpeas. We hammered it, she soaked it, it foamed, then it kneaded and became like Easter cake, tastier."
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