Ukrainian Easter Bread – Paska

Paska (that literally in Ukrainian means Easter) is called sweet bread that people always eat on Easter Day. Paska can be of different shapes as well as contain various ingredients, depending on the region of the country. The dough may contain such components as vanilla, rum, ginger, citron, and saffron. But usually, it consists of butter, eggs, milk, flour, yeast, and sugar. Moreover, it can be decorated with Christian symbols, dough ornaments or white glaze. There are lots of recipes of Paska and everyone is unique. Every family has its own way of preparing this baking.

The recipes pass from generation to generation, so lots of them are old and original. Every Easter morning, Ukrainians put Paska with the other products (eggs, sausage, butter, etc.) into the basket and bring it to church for a blessing. Actually, the given nation is very religious, especially in the West of the country. In Canada, for instance, people usually bake two kinds of Easter bread which are Babka and Paska.

It is also widespread in the East European countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and many more. Besides, it is also common among immigrants of the USA, UK, and Canada.

Ancient Traditions of the Easter

In fact, this religious fest was actually an ancient festival day of spring. People often call Easter day – Velykden that literally means “Great Day”. So, Velykden has numerous ancient rituals not limited by baking Paska, like painting Easter eggs – pysanky, krashanky and many others.

As Paska has its roots in pre-Christian times, it is interesting for its rituals, traditions, beliefs connected with the bread. In the book Calendar Year in Ukrainian Folklore is described the customs of baking 3 kinds of Paska, each one cooked for special  reasons: Yellow Paska was made for the sky and sun, people believe that it will give health to all the family members; White Paska was baked for the wind to not bring damages and death to their homes, and Black Paska was made for the people.

Popular Tradition Connected with Easter Day in Ukraine:

  • Blessing branches of willow;
  • While the dough of the Paska is rising there should be peace and calm in the house;
  • It is forbidden to eat Easter bread if it wasn’t blessed, even the person who has cooked it can’t taste Paska;
  • There is one strange belief that if the dough of the Paska fell down or something else happen with it, there is the probability that somebody can die in the house;

Summary

In conclusion, Ukraine is proud of its cultural traditions. That’s why it keeps them live. In general, there is a book (Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopaedic Dictionary mentions) where was said that there are about 40 recipes of Paska, however, it is a mistake. There is a tone of the ways for its preparing.