Preparations leading up to Easter in Moldova

Today has been my favorite holiday celebrated here in Moldova so far, hands down. People have been preparing for it for days – cleaning their homes, shopping, baking, and preparing food.

My host family tried to explain it to me throughout the week which had peaked my interest the more they shared with me about it. I heard about the early 4am wake up on Sunday morning where would go to the church and have our food blessed and see the church lit up with “luminaries” all around. I was told that I would eat a lot of delicious food and drink house wine throughout the day and take naps in between. It sounded like Thanksgiving and Christmas all put into one day. There was a lot of anticipation leading up to this day.

Eggs are dyed red for the Easter celebration (I read somewhere that the reason they are red is to represent the blood of Christ). I will explain more later about what you must do before eating one of these special eggs.
Eggs are dyed red for the Easter celebration (I read somewhere that the reason they are red is to represent the blood of Christ). I will explain more later about what you must do before eating one of these special eggs.

Yesterday, I had to make a quick 2 hour trip to Chisinau with my Technovation Challenge team for them to pitch their idea and get more feedback before they submit their project in less than two weeks. It was a tiring day doing the trip in one day, but I am grateful that the girls got to experience it and get some good feedback about presenting and their app idea.

The girls presenting at the Generator Hub in Chisinau. Even the #girlsintech documentary film  was there that day to film all the teams that were there to present their ideas.
The girls presenting at the Generator Hub in Chisinau. Even the #girlsintech documentary film was there that day to film all the teams pitching their projects.

We made it back to Balti before dinner so we could help at our homes with Easter preparations. Well, at least that is what happened at my apartment with my host family. I got home just in time to try to help with the Easter day preparations.

My host mom preparing all the different kids of meat for the Easter celebration. All happening in one photo - sarmale (rice mixture with meat wrapped in cabbage or grape leaves), parjoale (fried meatballs), roasted lamb, and a new chicken recipe.
My host mom preparing all the different kids of meat for the Easter celebration. All happening in one photo – sarmale (rice mixture with meat wrapped in cabbage or grape leaves), parjoale (fried meatballs), roasted lamb, and a new chicken recipe.
I got to help with chopping up pickles and ham for a salad... I didn't do quite a good a job as my host mom though -- although, she's the one with all the years of experience of chopping them into perfect squares. Mine were more like mutilated rectangles.
I got to help with chopping up pickles and ham for a salad… I didn’t do quite a good a job as my host mom though — although, she’s the one with all the years of experience of chopping them into perfect squares. Mine were more like mutilated rectangles.

Final preparations were made and the basket of food for the morning was prepared to take to the church in the wee hours. At 11:00 pm I heard all the church bells near our apartment start ringing as some people made their way to the church to be there throughout the whole night for the church service and blessing of food.

You could feel the anticipation throughout the whole city of what was before us… all the cleaning, all the food preparation, all the plans made, all the traveling to visit family — all leading up to Easter day — to celebrate Christ had risen (Hristos a înviat).

More to come about Easter day celebrations! Coming up next…

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5 comments

  1. Sara, loved reading about your preparation for Easter. We tried to call you on Easter but I think it got to be to late. I think your mom enjoyed her retirement celebration. Although it wasn’t to much of a surprise, as I’m sure she told you. We had a nice day together. Lots of food, but not as much as you, I think! Tom and I are getting ready for another trip out west. Going to Utah and then on to California and up the coast to Oregon and Washington and then back through Montana to visit toms brother. We will be gone all summer. Love reading your post. Sound like you are quite busy and enjoying your time. Love you and miss you.

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    • Thanks Aunt Laurice! 🙂 I know, I’m sad I couldn’t join you all in your celebrations there. I think you will really enjoy the West coast – I loved Oregon and Seattle. Sounds like you have quite the adventure ahead of you! Enjoy! Love and miss you too! xoxo

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