Regina's Ukrainian community celebrates Orthodox Easter
It only took eleven-year-old Diana Grishna ten minutes to put together her Easter basket.
"It's fun," she said. "I made some of the ingredients with my mom and then we made the eggs and all that. It's fun to put it together."
Grishna is celebrating Ukrainian Orthodox Easter this weekend, alongside other cultural communities and groups who follow the Julian calendar.
Father Vitaliy Ihnativ is the priest at St. Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Regina. He said it doesn't matter if you celebrate English or Ukrainian Easter - the reasons for celebrating remain the same.
"We have the same rejoice in Jesus Christ," he said. "We have difference in culture and we have difference in traditions but the base is the same."
St. Athanasius Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Regina follows the Julian calendar as well as the gregorian Calendar.
Father Vasyl Tymishak said combining calendars is a way to include and connect Canadian Ukrainian communities.
"Jesus is not like God the Father, but God the Father is like Jesus," he said. "Because no one could express this fullness of divinity in a human being that we can find in Jesus Christ."
Father Tymishak said 180 people attended last week's service and Easter basket blessing, while 140 people were expected this weekend.
Around 200 people attended the Easter Sunday mass at St. Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Father Ihnativ said 90 per cent of people who celebrated Easter at the Orthodox church were newcomers from Ukraine to Canada.
In 2014, Ihnativ traveled to Canada with his family, about 7,740 km away from his homeland.
"I am reminded in my memory everything that I felt in Ukraine when I was a small boy and after my teenage years and student years," he said.
Traditions are a large part of Ukrainian culture and during Easter, many traditions are recognized and celebrated. A large tradition in Orthodox Easter is circling the church three times after mass.
"The circle is the symbol of eternal life," Ihnativ said. "Three times because we believe in God, the Father and the Holy Spirit."
This year's snowfall however didn't stop the festivities. Not only were people blessed with holy water, but baskets filled with an assortment of Ukrainians foods were sprayed as well. Ukrainian bred (paska), butter, sausages, eggs, ham and decorated Easter eggs were among the blessed foods and items.
The celebrations will continue into remainder of the week called "Bright" week and include more water throwing and prayer ceremonies.