Lent is not a celebration, but a period of preparation for Easter. How strictly people observe Lent varies a great deal. In some areas, parishioners follow the Western model and give up something that they like. They do not avoid meat, eggs, and dairy products, the traditional dietary restrictions imposed during Lent.
Masliana or Shrove – Lent is preceded by a period of indulgence. The weeks prior to Lent are meat fare, when meat is still allowed, followed by milk fare week, or Masliana. In the West, Shrove, especially Shrove Tuesday is a big time of celebration and licence before the strictures of Lent. In Ukraine, Masliana is celebrated over the course of the entire week with thin pancakes, more like crepes than western pancakes, revelry, and the burning of an effigy at the end of the week. Why it did not come up in interviews is not clear. It could be the fault of the interviewer or it could be that this practice was overshadowed by the much more important event of Easter. It could also be that the demands of prairie farming did not allow for celebration.
Preparing for Easter during Lent was considered very important and was extensively discussed. People made sure that the house was clean. They also talked about pysanky, the intricate wax-resist eggs that many people associate with being Ukrainian. Preparing foods for the Easter basket was also important.
Pysanky – on the prairies, especially in recent times, have become gloriously colourful and intricate. Ukrainian women, and some men, make pysanky for enjoyment. They make pysanky for decoration and to be placed in the Easter basket blessed in church. Shirley Korpatinsky of Sheho, Saskatchewan boasted a long tradition of pysanka writing in her family. She also kept a set of 100-year-old and home-made pysanka tools that had belonged to her grandmother. The tradition did not end with Shirley and her two daughters sold enough pysanky to put themselves through the University of Saskatchewan. Many people write pysanky to sell and the buyers are often non-Ukrainians who buy the items as art objects and souvenirs. The designs on the eggs themselves range from patterns handed down in the family over generations to patterns found in books and to designs available on the internet. Pysanky are kept from year to year and many people display them in their living rooms, often alongside their desiccated wedding korovai.