Easter traditions in Bulgaria

The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter for the Orthodox Christians all over the world. Nowadays other colors are used as well. The eggs are colored on Holy Thursday after the Divine Liturgy. The Easter breads are a worldwide Orthodox tradition as well. They are big and small and decorated. The bread is called "kolache" or "kozunak". One of these Easter breads is specially decorated with one or more (but an odd number) of red eggs are incrustate into it. This bread is taken to church on Saturday evening when a special sequence of services takes place: Midnight Office, Rush Procession, Matins & Divine Liturgy. These are actually the services of Great and Holy Pascha (Velikden). After the service the clergy blesses the breads and eggs brought by the people and they take them home. Such breads and eggs are presented to the Spiritual parents (God parents, krustnitcite), to the biological parents, and also to other relatives, friends, etc.
The eggs are cracked after the midnight service and during the next days. One egg is cracked on the wall of the church (and this is the first egg eaten after the long Great Fast). The ritual of cracking the eggs takes place before the Easter lunch. Each person selects his/her egg. Then people take turns tapping their egg against the eggs of others, and the person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
The traditional Orthodox Paschal greeting is: "Christ is Risen!" The answer is: "Indeed He is Risen". This is the greeting during 40 days after Pascha. Also, These greetings are exchanged during the tapping of the eggs, mentioned above: They are repeated 3 times and the actual tapping is after that.

2 1/2 tablespoons yeast 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 egg, beaten lightly 1 1/3 cups warmed milk 1 1/2 cups raisins 3/4 cup rum 2 lemons 5 lbs flour (you may not use it all) 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 cups milk 2 cups sugar 11 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (vanilla powder is fine) 1 cup almonds or hazelnuts or walnuts, are fine too
1.    Mix first five ingredients (yeast, small amount sugar, salt, one egg, warm milk) in a large bowl.
2.    Cover and leave in a warm place for 40 minutes.
3.    Put raisins in rum to cover, and set aside to soak.
4.    Grate and juice the lemons.
5.    Set aside.
6.    Sift 4 of the five pounds of flour onto a large tray or other work surface.
7.    (You can estimate- does not need to be precise.).
8.    Melt butter and combine with oil.
9.    Heat 2 cups of milk and sugar on low in a small saucepan until warm.
10.    Separate 4 of the eggs; set aside the yolks for brushing.
11.    Beat the whites with the other 7 eggs.
12.    Add a handful of the flour from the work surface to the warm yeast mixture.
13.    Bit by bit, mix in with a spoon the rest of the flour, the milk mixture, the beaten eggs and the butter/oil mixture.
14.    When most of it is together, mix in the lemon juice and zest, and the vanilla.
15.    Adding more flour to the work surface if necessary, dump out the dough and knead until it holds together well.
16.    Let the dough rest in a warm place until double in bulk (1-2 hours).
17.    You may need to divide between two bowls.
18.    Punch down and knead the dough.
19.    Drain the raisins and dredge in flour.
20.    Work about half of them into the dough as you knead, a few at a time.
21.    Let the dough sit and rise again (another 1-2 hours).
22.    Preheat oven to 425 (400 if your oven runs hot).
23.    Punch down and knead again.
24.    Divide the dough into 8 parts.
25.    Each of these, divide into three parts; roll them long and braid into a single loaf.
26.    While braiding, work the remainder of the raisins between the strands.
27.    Brush the loaves with the reserved egg yolk and stud the top with nuts.
28.    Bake the loaves about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
29.    (We usually did about 3 loaves at a time.) You can also use the dough to make smaller rolls, if you prefer; bake for proportionally less time.