On the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha, Orthodox Christians celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This feast of feasts is the most significant day in the life of the Church. “Christ is risen!” – “He is truly risen!” is the customary salutation of the day, and Orthodox Christians keep greeting each other in this way for forty days after Pascha Sunday.
This most important holiday is traditionally celebrated with a variety of customs, different ones for Orthodox Christians of different ethnic backgrounds. However, a custom common to all Orthodox Christians is the cracking of red eggs. Hard-boiled eggs have been dyed a bright red color on Holy Thursday, red symbolizing the blood of our Lord that was shed on the Cross. On Pascha Sunday, each person chooses a red egg and cracks it against the egg of another person. While doing this they exclaim : “Christ is risen!” – “He is truly risen!” The person whose egg remains intact is the winner. The cracking of the red eggs symbolizes the opening of the Tomb and the Resurrection of our Lord.
Another common Orthodox custom is to light a special celebratory candle during the Divine Liturgy of Pascha Sunday. The Pascha candle (lambada/λαμπάδα in Greek) is often elaborately decorated, especially when it is meant to be used by children. In Greece where we come from, this candle is traditionally white – in contrast to the yellow candles one finds in church on regular days – and it is the duty of the godparents to provide their godchild with one.
We created two crafts to help celebrate this most important holiday: a Pascha candle, and a Pascha celebration mobile.
Digital Pascha egg-cracking!
We started this Holy Week project series during the COVID-19 crisis, when we were forced to spend the first-ever Pascha at home. Natalie’s then 13-year-old son helped create a simple online application as a social-distancing version of the custom of cracking Pascha eggs, which we used with family, friends, and with our Sunday School classes to “crack” the eggs while on a video call. Even though we are thankfully not practicing social distancing anymore, the application can still be used with family and friends who live far away – or if the children want to keep cracking eggs when all the dyed eggs have already been cracked :-).
HOW TO PLAY FROM AFAR:
- Set up a video chat with relatives and friends.
- Share your screen so everyone sees the game.
- Ask two people to choose one egg each. They will not click on the eggs, only tell you which egg they want.
- Hit the button to see whose egg will crack!
Paper Pascha candles
You will need:
- Printouts from our printable packet above. High-quality printer paper looks better, but plain paper also works.
- Narrow pieces of white paper. If you have paper that is sturdier than plain paper, it will work better – but plain paper works too. We used a 4.5 x 12 inch strip of craft paper.
- Scissors and Scotch tape.
- Ribbons, and/or religious-themed stickers, and/or crosses cut out of paper, and/or other decorations.
Roll the white paper into a thin roll and tape closed. Cut decorations out of the printouts. Decorate the “candle” in any way you like. With the scissors, snap two slits on the top part of the candle. Slide the flame circle into the two slits. Ready!
Pascha celebratory mobile
You will need
- A printout of the relevant page from the printable packet above (premium printer paper is sturdier and produces more vivid colors, so it works best, but plain paper works too). You will need to print the page twice to make one mobile.
- A long piece of string or ribbon
- Scotch tape
How to make the mobile
Cut the shapes out of the printout. Tape each shape onto the string or ribbon, in any combination you like. Onto each shape, tape a copy of it, back sides together, sandwiching the string between the two shapes. Ready!
Free Lesson Plan and Extra Activities
We have created a comprehensive lesson plan containing material that you can use together with the projects on this page to explore the celebrated themes more fully. Please visit our web page Four Icons for Pascha.
- Great and Holy Pascha, Greek Orthodox Church of America
- Holy Pascha: The Resurrection of our Lord, Orthodox Church in America