As Easter approaches, we asked three member countries of CANA (Russia, Germany, and Colombia) to tell us about their Easter traditions. Discover in this article the spiritual and culinary customs specific to each country!

How do we prepare for and celebrate Easter?

Perhaps Easter is the most significant event for Orthodox Christians. “Christ is Risen!!!” – that’s how we greet each other for forty days after Easter Day. One of the most beloved Orthodox saints, Seraphim of Sarov, greeted people like that throughout the entire year!

The preparation for Easter is also quite lengthy – seven weeks. The most important weeks are: the first week, when we read the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, which prepares our hearts for repentance. The fourth week, when we venerate the Cross. And the last week – Holy Week, when we contemplate, pray, and accompany Christ through His Passion.

Our priest always reminds us that there is a tradition to read all four Gospels during Lent. And we try to do that with our children. But that’s not the only preparation we have! To help us enter Lent, the Church gives us four weeks to reflect on two parables – the parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee, and the parable of the Prodigal Son. These parables remind us of the humble spirit before God, the importance of repentance, and of a loving God who waits for us to come and receive His Love.

The week before Lent is called “Maslenitsa.” We bake pancakes, visit friends, play games, and sing songs. The last day of that week is called Forgiveness Sunday. We ask each other for forgiveness on that day. It’s important to enter Lent without any offenses or unforgiveness.

On Easter Day, the whole family goes to the night Liturgy. It’s a very special service that starts at midnight with a procession around the church and lasts until 3 a.m. After the service, we set the tables (people bring some food with them). Everybody enjoys the food and fellowship. We usually sing a lot of songs. We leave with young children around 5 a.m. But the youth can stay there until the morning and only then may have a short rest.

After the sleepless night, we adults need some rest and only around 4 p.m. do we feel ready to celebrate Easter with relatives and friends. Sometimes we invite people to our house, sometimes we visit friends. At the end of that day, we are usually very tired but happy!

The whole following week, we have Easter Liturgy with a procession every morning and if we can, we like to go to church. During the Easter Week, everyone is usually allowed to ring the church bells. Children like that tradition very much. Usually after the service, the bells ring for a long time. Everybody can hear and know that: Christ is Risen!!!

Easter is a festive event in Germany that is rich in customs and rituals. One popular tradition is Easter egg dyeing, where families come together to paint eggs in vibrant colors. These eggs are then hidden in the garden and children look forward to searching for them on Easter Sunday. Another custom is the Easter bonfire, which is often lit on the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday. People gather around the fire to sing together and await the resurrection of the Lord.

A highlight is the Easter brunch on Easter Sunday, when the family comes together to enjoy traditional dishes such as Easter ham, roast lamb and various sweet treats. Easter water is also an important custom in some regions of Germany, where it is believed that water collected on the night of Easter Sunday has healing powers.

Finally, Easter often ends with a cozy get-together where families and friends spend time together and share the joy of the resurrection.

During Holy Week or “Semana Mayor,” parishioners interrupt their usual activities to participate in celebrations and processions commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Families gather and create altars together for the Palm Sunday processions and the Good Friday Stations of the Cross. On Friday and Saturday, it is tradition to observe silence and fast until the grand celebration of the Easter Vigil, where joy and gladness unite to announce to us that Jesus has risen!

However, while the essence of Easter week is the same across different regions of the country, traditions vary, whether they are musical, cultural, or even gastronomic. That’s why there are several places renowned for their particular traditions, attracting thousands of people each year.

Here are some examples:


As the capital of Colombia, Bogota boasts several temples of heritage interest, colonial churches, and cathedrals, offering architectural, cultural, and gastronomic activities. A clear example is Monserrate, one of Bogota’s most important eastern hills, where thousands of parishioners ascend via cable car, funicular, or pedestrian path, not leaving without tasting typical dishes such as Ajiaco Santafereño, Chocolate Tamal, Aguadepanela with almojabana and cheese.


The Holy Week processions in Popayán have been celebrated since the 16th century, making it one of the oldest commemorations in all of Colombia, listed as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The procession statues date back to the late 17th century, following the footsteps of Jesus during nocturnal processions in the city center, accompanied by hundreds of faithful carrying candles and floral arrangements. Additionally, if you wish to taste typical Popayán cuisine, you can savor dishes such as salpicón payanés, the famous tamal de Pipián, or champús.


Situated on the banks of the Magdalena River, Mompox has been celebrating Holy Week since 1564. During the procession, Mompoxians take two steps forward and one step back. Similarly, the celebration of Holy Week in Cruz de Mompox, nicknamed the city of God due to its Catholic tradition, is distinguished by the Colombian tradition of eating fish on Good Friday. Among the most notable dishes are fried mojarra, sweating catfish, bocachico, cachama, and seafood stew.


Legend has it that the Christ of Buga was found by a woman washing her laundry in a river near the region, after deciding to cover a neighbor’s debt with this work to prevent him from going to prison. The news spread, leading to a stream of pilgrimages to visit the one called the Lord of Miracles of Buga. Today, thousands of people come to venerate him to grant their wishes or to thank him for what he has already granted them, making the Basilica of Buga one of the largest pilgrimage centers in Colombia during the “Semana Mayor.”


The Constitutional Court has recognized Holy Week in Tunja as the intangible cultural heritage of the nation. Every year, the capital of Boyaca organizes religious events and cultural activities such as theatrical performances, exhibitions of religious art, and concerts.