The longest fasting period – 40 days – is observed before Easter, so this holiday is celebrated with a feast of many foods. Along with dying eggs, the paska cake is baked on Easter.
Containing raisins, various dried fruits, spices, butter, and milk or sour cream, paska is absolutely delicious! Making it is a long, labor-intensive process. A good paska should be heavy and a little bit moist, and it needs time to “ripen”. That is why it is baked one week before the holiday and is brought to the table having already reached its perfect state.
Culturally, paska symbolizes the Golgotha Mountain. Easter without this important symbolic product is simply unimaginable.
Another prominent symbol of Easter is the red dyed eggs. They are painted on the day of Jesus’s crucifixion, Good Friday (“red Friday” in Georgian), traditionally in a decoction of rose madder roots and onion leaves. The red eggs are a symbol of the circle of life, rebirth, so you will see many of them on the table at Easter.
All kinds of meat dishes are served on this day – fried, boiled, and even in soups. In eastern Georgia, a lamb must be eaten on Easter as a sacrifice to the Lord. In Tbilisi and western Georgia, suckling piglets are the main fare on Easter. Khachapuri is also a part of every Easter feast. In the mountains they bake stuffed kada, and in Kartli - sweet bread nazuki.
At the Easter feast you will find fish, greens, a thousand kinds of sauces, salads, fresh vegetables, herbs, bread, and, of course, plenty of Georgian wine!
Spring is the time for cooking one of the most delicious foods in Georgia, chakapuli. Chakapuli is well-known as an Easter dish, so you will definitely see it on the table during Easter. It is made from lamb meat, various Georgian herbs, like tarragon and coriander, green onions, leeks, sour plums, and white wine.
The majority of believers spend the night of Easter at church and return home in the morning. So the Easter feast happens around lunchtime.
Everything starts with the phrase “Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!”, which is followed by the ritual of an egg striking competition, and then the feast starts with blessings and congratulations.