Occupation: graduat student
Residence: Pasadena, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/16
Primary Language: Russian
Other Language(s): English, French, Czech
My informant is from Lipitsk, Russia. She moved to the United States for graduate studies, and is a graduate student at USC at the age of 33. I collected many superstitions from my informant, and also wedding traditions, using her own wedding as an example.
Informant: So for Easter, Easter is an Ortho-Christian holiday so in a Russian-orthodox Church, the Christ resurrection, resurrection of Christ but in the old pagan tradition, it used to be that people went…It was like the day of the day. So the people they also went to church they also went to the cemetery. And they brought like um little pieces of food, some eggs, and some shots of vodka, and left it on the graves…and communicate with the dead. So and of course the church was very much against it because, again, it is a superstition. Its about liberating Christ and communicating with your dead ones at the grave. But it still happens. And its like every- I mean it been happening, even the soviet rejection of religion they couldn’t. Even now for Easter, now everyone goes to the cemetery to leave some food, or some vodka at the grave…Unless you don’t have anybody who is technically. I mean, If you don’t have anybody buried in this area so you don’t have go. But if you have somebody you can go there, within the proximity. So its not you know, relatives buried in Siberia and you are in Moscow. But if you know, lets say you live in Los Angeles and its in proximity. IF the cemetery is in proximity and you have someone there. So that’s why, when I was young I didn’t have anybody.. Because our family moved so we didn’t have any older relatives buried anywhere, so we didn’t have anybody to visit technically in the cemetery. And I remember when there was the Easter day, you know, my friends, id be like “Oh guys lets hang out and they’d be like, “we are going to the cemetery with our parents.” And I didn’t have anybody.
Me: Where did you move from?
Informant: Its actually not me, its my family. But they moved from Moscow, my grandparents moved from Moscow to Lipitsk. So a smaller city so that’s where they stayed. So their parents were killed so that’s why I didn’t have any great grandparents. I didn’t have any uncles or aunts. Just my grandparents, parents and me.
My informant herself did not participate in the practice of visiting graves on Easter because she did not have family in the area. However, this practice was very common among my informants friends, who would all go to the the graves of loved ones on Easter. I think this practice fits with Easter because the holiday has to do with the dying and rising of Christ.