Written by David Tyrpak, a Clemson University Junior
This Sunday is Easter, or "Paskha" as the Russians say. In Russia, Easter is a big deal, much more so than in America. That's not to say that Russia is an unusually religious country. It's just that in Eastern Christianity, Easter is near the top of the list of religious holidays, even more so than Christmas. Also, due to the fact that the Russian winter doesn't begin to release its grip until late March, Easter's arrival here brings along the appropriate connotation of new and bright beginnings, something that in the southeastern US I've never experienced. Eastern Orthodox Christianity observes Lent, which for Russians begins after Maslenitsa, so Easter comes forty days after the last day of Maslenitsa. Come late evening the Saturday on the eve of Easter Sunday, orthodox churches across Russia engage in a procession, circling their church grounds three times with candles lit.
Easter egg hunts are not practiced, but the coloring of eggs is. The week after Easter is called "Bright Week" or Paskhal Week. Fasting is prohibited and
replaced with the consumption of those foods which were prohibited during Lent. Some traditional Easter foods include Kulich, which looks like a large cupcake, as well as Paskha, which is a type of cheesecake. On a related note, with winter and Lent coming to a close, this is shashlik season. We hope to find a grill somewhere soon so we can enjoy that primal pastime that both Americans and Russians so enjoy doing: grilling meat. So wish us luck in our endeavor and Happy Easter!
Also in this Issue...
- Not Quite and Urban Jungle by Joey Kingerski
"Ultimately the zoo's urban setting did not detract from our day and despite its location in the heart of Moscow the zoo was spacious and filled with a wide variety of enclosures and exhibits..."
- Spring has Finally Sprung by Isaac Bredeson
"The spring cleaning process has begun. The melting process is aided by an army of students armed with picks and shovels. They break up the snow and ice and spread it across the blacktop to help it melt more rapidly. They were given this special privilege due to previous misbehavior..."
- Issue Photographer: Isaac Bredeson
Written by Joey Kingerski, a Clemson University Sophomore
Recently my classmates and I made our way to the Moscow Zoo. It has been a few years since I last took the time to go a zoo, and frankly I am disappointed I do not go more often. The zoo is a great way to spend a day and like everything else here in Moscow it had a few features that you would most likely not be able to find in America. Fortunately for our trip the weather was spectacular and we were able to visits the sights and sounds of the zoo for almost five hours.
The first thing that struck me about the Moscow zoo is that it is right in the heart of the city. It was somewhat strange to see apartment complexes and traffic just outside the walls of the park. The park is split into two sections connected by a bridge over traffic and each side of the bridge had about an equal number of animals to see. Ultimately the zoo's urban setting did not detract from our day and despite its location in the heart of Moscow the zoo was spacious and filled with a wide variety of enclosures and exhibits.
The only zoo I have visited in the United States is the Houston Zoo which has a very good size and reputation, but is obviously unable to house every member of the animal kingdom.
Fortunately, the Moscow zoo had a number of very impressive species I had never previously seen in person. The big cats' exhibit has always been a favorite of mine and there I was able to see a jaguar and a black jaguar for the first time. Jaguars are much more impressive than I had previously thought and the muscles in their jaw were twice the size of my fist. The Moscow zoo is also home to two white Siberian tigers, another
animals I was seeing for the first time, and they were some of the most beautiful animals we looked at all day.
I think everyone would agree that the primate house was one of the highlights of the day. The orangutans in particular were very cool. When we first saw the orangutans there were four monkeys in the enclosure, two females, a child, and the male. The children of Moscow particularly enjoyed the young orangutan, and he provided them with endless entertainment by putting his hands on the glass and throwing leaves on himself. Previously I had never known how big male orangutans could be and I was shocked by the size as well as the huge flaps of skin on the side of the face of the male.
The Moscow zoo was a very enjoyable experience and I found it very interesting to see something so common in America, a zoo, in an unfamiliar setting.