This Easter provided a once in a lifetime experience. We woke up at 4:40 am so we could get ready to leave the house by 5 am. The walk was short, and surprisingly not cold. The first thing I noticed was that the road was blocked off to the church. As I got closer to the church I started to see all the people lined up facing each other, creating a wide path. It seemed that all the town of Kotovsk was there. Each person, or small group of people had a basket with eggs, Paska bread, and anything else they wanted to bring to be blessed for Easter. It was explained that the priest or "Batushka" was inside and one could go in and be blessed. The other option, which I noticed many chose, was to stay outside and wait for the priest to come out and bless all that stood in line, and their baskets. As the sun rose for the day it outlined the church beautifully, creating an almost glow. Finally, when the sun had risen the bells started to ring and the Batushka came out to bless everyone. How this was done was by him placing a small broom-like brush into a bucket of water, and then spraying all who wanted. He also blessed the baskets in the process. As he passed by he was followed by people holding a large basket that people could fill for the poor. After our turn we headed back to the house. We were at the front of the procession. As we walked there were so many others waiting. It really was a beautiful experience.
You can see in the basket the Paas died eggs mixed with the Ukrainian egg wrappers.
Later in the day we introduced Elya and Anya to an American Easter egg hunt, complete with Reeses, Peeps, Easter grass, and baskets. It was so rewarding to watch them hunt for the eggs hidden throughout the house. Then they treated us to a hunt for some Ukrainian presents for us.
The day was complete with wonderful food, family, and great memories none of us will soon forget.