Third letter – Easter customs in Kosovo

May the Lord help you my dear. I have decided to tell you, how we celebrate our greatest Christian holiday – Easter, what are our customs etc.
The holiday itself begins by priest visiting every house and sanctifying the water used for painting of eggs. Eggs are painted on Great Thursday. On that day all housewives wake up early and paint the eggs. Eggs are painted red, but before that they’re decorated with bee wax and with a special tool called 
saraljka. Different patterns are applied on eggs with wax so that the eggs would be as nice and as colourful as possible.
The first coloured egg is called 
cuvarkuca (housekeeper) and is kept beside the icon throughout the year. This egg protects the house from anything evil. The second coloured egg is called strashnik and this egg is taken to vineyards or fields and is buried in the ground, so that the Lord and this Easter egg would protect the fruit from drought, hail and similar events. While we are still asleep our mother touches our faces with the third painted egg so that we would be as healthy and ruby as this egg. All eggs must be painted before the sunrise. Once they’re dyed, the eggs are polished with oil so that they would shine and look nicer. Then they are kept until the Easter.
On Great Thursday all errands are finished in order not to do anything on Great Friday. On Great Friday people go to church and the most important services are held then. The Shroud of our Lord is taken out, and placed beside the altar. Everyone in the church approach the Holy Shroud, bow before it or make prostrations, kiss the Holy Shroud, crawl under it and make a wish. At the end of the service we all go three times around the church with the lit candles and then the church bells start ringing. Then the service is finished and whoever wants can stay all night to guard the Lord’s grave… Then everyone waits for the Sunday when the Christ has risen. Early in the morning church bells ring and people go to church to take Holy Communion. Everyone is happy, dressed up in their best clothes and they greet one another with the words: “Christ is risen!”
Then children go from one house to another similar to Christmaspolozajnik (1) and they greet the host of the family with the words: Christ is risen! The host of the family presents the children with red coloured eggs and sweets. Everyone is happy, though this is a very sad holiday, but in the end it’s the happiest one as well since the Lord has risen and the entire Kosovo and Metohija celebrates this holiday in this manner. 
There are people who are alone and sad because of that, but the children cheer them up.
Happy holiday – Christ is risen!
Many greetings from Jovana Kosovka.



(1) – Polozajnik is the name for the first person who enters someone’s home on Christmas morning.

Превод: Хришћанска Заједница Св. Ђакон Авакум - Видиковац, Београд