Orthodox Easter 2018: Why does Orthodox Easter fall on a different day?

Both Orthodox Easter and Easter Sunday commemorate the resurrection of Jesus, however are celebrated on different dates, as they are based on two different calendars.

Orthodox churches in countries including Greece, Cyprus and Romania base their Easter date on the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian Calendar that is used in Britain.

As with Easter in Britain, Orthodox Easter observers continue fasting through Holy Week, ending their fast on Orthodox Easter Sunday.

Holy Thursday on April 5 sees the beginning of Easter preparations, when Easter bread, known as tsoureki, is made and eggs are dyed red to symbolise Jesus’ blood.

There is a period of mourning throughout church services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Eastern Christians do not go to work, instead they mourn and fast.

Devout Eastern Christians refrain from cooking on Good Friday, or if they do cook they make only traditional simple meals.

On Holy Saturday, many Eastern Christians watch on TV as a military jet brings the Eternal Flame, which is distributed to priests who carry it to their local churches.

Preparations are also made for the next day’s Easter feast. Traditional magiritsa soup is prepared, using the intestines and organs of the lamb that will be roasted on Easter Sunday.

Everyone who is able attends the midnight Service of Resurrection, with each person holding a white candle which is lit during the service by passing the Holy flame to one another.

The candles are called labatha and are often given as gifts to children from their parents or Godparents, decorated with storybook characters.

Afterwards friends and relatives gather to break the fast and enjoy the magiritsa soup, and play a game with the dyed red eggs where they must attempt to crack opponents eggs with their own.

As with Western Easter Sunday, Orthodox Easter Sunday is a time for food.

At dawn, spits are fired up for the traditional whole roast lamb, which represents the Lamb of God.

There are side dishes such as potatoes with citrus and oregano, and spinach and cheese pie as well as plenty of wine.

Easter Monday is a day to relax and enjoy any leftovers from the day before.

Source Express
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