Yesterday was the Russian Orthodox holiday called “Radonitsa.” The second Tuesday after Easter, Russians go to the cemetery to visit their relatives and friends on this day of remembrance. Rather than tell you what people generally do, I’m going to tell you my experience of the holiday this year.
When my father- and mother-in-law got back from the cemetery, they invited us down for dinner. We live in the same building. They had set up vodka and a slice of bread at one end of the table in honor of the departed, and my mother-in-law had made blini. I have gone through this holiday before, but never really thought about it. Blini are a staple.
We raised our glasses to the departed and without clinging them together drank to their memories. My wife and I had mineral water, my stepdaughter had wine, and my in-laws had cognac. The family told stories about the people they went to see and talked about how few people were there. We ate a meal that included cherry variniki, plov, and the aforementioned blini. We toasted two more times and moved onto tea and dessert. I can’t say this is how it goes for every family, but this is how my wife’s family commemorates the day of remembrance.