30 April 2009

Not As Late As You Think--How We Celebrated Easter

Ok, so this post is really late.  I was having technical difficulties with iPhoto, then I sort of forgot about it as life continued in its currently rapid style.

But better late than never, I'm finally sharing with you how we celebrated Easter this year, which for us was April 19, the date that Russians celebrated Easter.

In Russia there are 2 special cakes at Easter.  One is кулич (kooleech), which is a tall, round, bread-type cake with white icing and sprinkles on top, or icing with the letters ХВ, which stand for Христос Воскрес (Christ is Risen).  Our oven is not working, so we couldn't make that kind of cake, which requires baking; and I forgot to get any pictures of the кулич that we bought.  Instead, our friend Luda helped us make Пасха (paskha, which is also the word for Easter in Russian).  This cake is sort of like cheesecake in the States, but not.

When I described it to Thomas, we both thought that it wouldn't taste very good, but it was actually quite delicious!  We served it at our Bible study on the Saturday night before Easter, and it was GONE!  I think that everyone was really surprised to see it at our house, since not that many people in the city make it anymore.

But here's how it went:

Luda strained the cottage cheese through a really small strainer.  This was the longest process of making the cake.

I mixed sweet butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a smaller bowl.  Then we mixed the cottage cheese with the sugar mixture and added raisins.  We lined the special form for making the cake with something like very thin gauze, which I told Luda looked like how I imagine the Shroud of Turin, but we resisted wrapping it around our faces.

Next we poured the mixture into the special form that is made of 4 separate pieces that connect together.  Then the cake is supposed to sit for several hours in a cold place so that the liquid can drain out.  Thankfully the Friday before Easter was rather chilly--we even had snow!--so we were able to put this interestingly rigged contraption on our balcony, which serves as Thomas' office in warmer weather.  I think that it sat out there for about 7 hours.

When we finished with the cake, we ate lunch, and Isaiah took a nap.  Luda and I had some great, much needed visiting time!  Then it was time to decorate eggs!  While Luda and I colored and then put ribbon and special pictures on real eggs, Isaiah got to do his favorite thing and move the plastic eggs I had found from one bowl to another, and he was thrilled!

Our beautiful eggs!  Oh, did I mention that Luda and I did all this in Russian?

And this is how Пасха turned out.  Each side has a picture on it, here are the letters ХВ and a dove.  On the other 2 sides were pictured a cathedral and an Orthodox-style cross.

And here are all our completed eggs on display for our Bible study.  Our Russian friends thought that Americans didn't color eggs, so they were impressed with this, too.  We took them to church the next day and shared them.

Sunday morning was a lot of fun!  We gave Isaiah his first Easter basket, we had just never remembered to do it before.  He was excited to get unexpected treats!

In hopes of warmer weather, which is FINALLY coming, we got him a dump truck for the sandbox.  Now we just have to wait for the sandbox to be dry enough.  He also got some granola bars and plastic eggs filled with M&M's--have I mentioned that this Little Man LOVES chocolate?

So, for breakfast I made wheat pancakes and put M&M's in his.

I think it was a hit!

So that's basically how we spent Easter.  In our family time, we read the history of the crucifixion of Christ and His resurrection.  Of course we went to church and celebrated with our friends.  I think we're finally getting the hang of this holiday--maybe next year I'll be even more prepared.  I would like to do more in preparation for this special holiday next year, maybe like an advent calendar at Christmas, but I guess it would be called something else, perhaps?  If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments section or in an email!

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!


MoziEsmé said...

Those eggs and that cake are amazing! And I'm impressed with your Russian skills :). I love how the plastic eggs kept Isaiah happy...

Reed, Anna and Emily said...

Never thought about M&Ms in pancakes- awesome! Emily would just love that!!

mom slawson said...

That Russian Easter cake is fascinating. I enjoyed seeing the end result and would like to taste it too. You Easter eggs were quite decorative--what did you use to make the designs? So glad all of you had fun. Isaiah always looks so happy. I love him !