The primary religion in Moldova is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Because of this, Easter is arguably the most important religious holiday in Moldova. During April there are many traditions (most related to the Church) that are followed to celebrate Easter. For example, many people use a different greeting and response during this time (Greeting: “Hristos a inviat” which means “Jesus resurrected.” Response: “Adevarat a inviat” which means “Indeed resurrected”).
It is also customary to color eggs, and make Easter cakes and Easter bread. Furthermore, many people follow “post” (Lent) in the six weeks before Easter Sunday. During this time many people will not eat meat or drink alcohol, and because of this most restaurants offer a separate vegetarian “de post” menu.
I celebrated with a picnic in Ciocana, as well a midnight mass at one of the city’s biggest churches. This consisted of an Easter vigil (where everyone brought the light from the church candles back to their houses) and, of course, the Easter service.
I had never been to an Orthodox service before, and so this was a very interesting experience. My favorite part was the beginning of the service, when we walked around the church three times with our candles. After this came the mass, which was four hours long (however I only lasted until 2:00am). The night concluded with the priests going to the street to bless big baskets of food. I’m sorry that I missed this part, although I did take some pictures of the people lining up to get their food blessed before I left.