As buds appear on the trees and color begins to seep back into the streets of Moscow, spring is finally arriving. And with spring comes Easter! From markets and concerts to activities for the kids, we have the lowdown on how and where to celebrate it in Moscow.
Let Them Eat Kulich
What’s Easter without kulich?
Kulich is a cylindrical cake that is the centerpiece of every festive Easter table in Russia. As Lent finally comes to an end, those who have fasted mark the end of their struggle with this traditional pastry, which is a little similar to Italian panettone. The semi-sweet cake is stuffed with dried fruits, almonds, cardamom and other delightful treats. If you don’t feel like rolling up your sleeves in the kitchen, head to one of the branches of the Wolkonsky pastry shop, which serves up an extremely tasty homemade kulich. Alternatively, order one for Easter lunch at any good restaurant.
Easter Markets and Exhibitions
Immerse yourself in the spirit of times past
In imperial Russia, it was traditional to hold charity auctions in aid of the needy in the days leading up to Easter. Street bazaars would display hand-made items produced by members of the Moscow governor’s family and other prominent public figures.
The tradition of holding Easter markets continues to this day, and as part of the “Easter Gift” festival, stalls selling Easter goods have popped up all over the city.
Markets will be held at 24 locations in central Moscow, as well as in the city’s parks. Look out for stalls at Ploshchad Revolyutsii and Pushkinskaya Ploshchad, as well as along Tverskoi Bulvar, Kuznetsky Most, Arbat and Novy Arbat, among others.
Besides the Easter markets, there will also be a number of exhibitions dedicated to exploring the Easter traditions of the past in the city, from arts and crafts to spring balls and the work of local philanthropists.
April 12 to April 23
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Christian Easter Concert
For fans of classical and choral music, there is a plethora of options for Easter Sunday in Moscow. The Church of the Immaculate Conception – the largest Catholic church in Russia – will hold a special concert in the evening to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.
Ecuadorian conductor Freddy Cadena, who formerly taught at the Moscow State Conservatory, will lead the orchestra in renditions of works by composers such as Bach, Haydn, Handel and Mozart. These musical masterpieces will be performed by an orchestra, vocalists and solo trumpet. This concert will evoke the victorious atmosphere of the triumph of life over death – an Easter theme that touches all.
Feel like giving gifts this Easter? Create some gingerbread treats for your friends and family at the Moscow Gingerbread Museum. The museum is offering a wide selection of Easter-oriented workshops for both children and adults. If you fancy decorating Easter cakes or making an Easter-themed gingerbread house, then this is the place for you. The museum has something for every member of the family, and classes are kept going by unlimited quantities of traditional Russian tea.
Celebrating Easter with a symphony
This year marks the 16th annual Easter Festival in Moscow. From April 16 through May 9, concerts will be held across Moscow to celebrate the greatest musical talents in the country. The inaugural concert, featuring Rachmaninoff ’s Concerto No.3, will be conducted by the Mariinsky Theater’s superstar conductor and artistic director Valery Gergiev on Easter Sunday in the Moscow Conservatory’s Great Hall. Further concerts are scheduled at Moscow’s main concert venues over the next few weeks. Expect spectacular choral, symphony and chamber music.
Egg painting and more
This year, Strastnoi Bulvar will play host to a festive Easter Sunday program presented by Vysokopetrovsky Monastery. The festival promises competitions, workshops, folk music performances and Easter bell ringing. The main event will be the six-foot Easter egg painting competition.
When finished, the painted eggs will decorate the courtyard of the Moscow City Duma, which will hold an exhibition of Easter eggs throughout the week of Easter.
The Bell Foundry
Ringing in Easter
Easter week offers the chance to witness how bells are made. On April 12, a bell crafting studio will open on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad, and specialists from the Danilov Monastery will demonstrate the art of bellfounding to the public. Replicas of Moscow’s most famous bells – from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great and the Dormition Belfry – will be displayed as works of art on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad and Tverskoi Bulvar, as well as in Novopushkinsky Park.