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Easter in Moldova

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Easter is the most important religious holiday in Moldova. Easter is a transitioning holiday and the exact date for it is calculated using the lunar-solar calendar. The day of Easter is taken to be on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. And because the vernal equinox usually occurs on the 20th of March and two full moons are a little under 30 days apart, Easter usually happens either at the beginning or at the end of April. Although there have been cases when the Easter holiday occurred at the begging of May, or at the end of March.

There are numerous Easter related traditions and most of them relate to the Church, after all, Easter is the day when Jesus resurrected. People use a different greeting in Moldova on the days of Easter – they say "Hristos a inviat" which means "Jesus resurrected". And the reply for the greeting is "Adevarat a inviat", which translates to "Indeed resurrected". Some people might actually be offended if you greet them by just saying "Hi, how are you" on Easter.

It is also customary to color eggs in different colors for Easter, although red is considered the traditional color. A large variety of meals are prepared for Easter in Moldovan households, such as Easter cakes and Easter bread, which must be sprinkled with holy water at a church. And of course, lamb serves as the primary meat during Easter. Plenty of other national food is prepared in Moldova for Easter: placinte (a type of filled pastry), galuste (rice and ground meat wrapped in grape wine leaves), mamaliga (cornbread), various salads, soups, main entry meat dishes (especially rabbit and lamb), as well as various deserts. Many people bring all the above mentioned food to be sanctified, not just the eggs and the Easter bread, which usually causes huge lines to form at and near the church. It is advisable to arrive early on.

The second Sunday after Easter in Moldova there is a holiday called "Pastele Blajinilor", which translates roughly to "Easter of the Gentle". People bring flowers to the graves of their family and friends, and exchange gifts with others who came to mourn on this day.

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