Easter in Eastern Christianity Date in the current year: May 5, 2024

Easter in Eastern Christianity Easter is one of the most important feasts of the year for all Christians since it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, which is a foundation of the Christian faith. Western and Eastern Christians celebrate Easter on different dates, depending on the calendar they use.

According to the four canonical Gospels, Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion at Cavalry. His resurrection established Jesus as the Son of God and became a foundation of a new religion, which now has over 2.4 billion adherents across the world.

The key events of the last days of Jesus’ life are believed to have taken place during or around the Jewish feast of Passover. Therefore, the date of Easter is calculated using a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. This means that Easter and all related holidays are movable feasts that do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar used by Western churches or the Julian calendar used by Eastern churches.

In Eastern Christianity, Easter is preceded by a forty-day period of spiritual preparation called Great Lent. Great Lent is the time of fasting, prayer, and penance in the Byzantine Rite. It is similar to Lent in Western Christianity, but there are differences in the timing and practices. Fasting involves abstaining from certain foods (primarily animal products) and alcohol, intensifying one’s prayers, going to church more often, limiting entertainment, and focusing on good deeds and charity.

Easter, also known as Pascha, is regarded as the greatest of all holy days in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Even Christmas is secondary in importance to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The liturgical celebration of Easter in the Byzantine tradition begins on the evening of Holy Saturday. The Paschal Vigil includes a traditional procession around the church that symbolizes the journey of the Myrrhbearers to the Tomb of Jesus. At the end of the service, the priest blesses Easter eggs, the Artos (a loaf of leavened bread representing the Resurrected Christ), and baskets of food for the fast-break meal with holy water.

Upon returning from the church, people have a festive meal with their families to break the fast. In the Slavic countries, traditional dishes include Easter bread (kulich), paskha (a type of dessert made from quark), and some kind of meat, typically pork or homemade sausage. And, of course, an Easter meal is unimaginable without Easter eggs.

Eggs have been associated with a new life since ancient times; Christians simply adopted the already existing symbol to signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Painting and decorating Easter eggs is a common custom for all Christian denominations.

In different countries, however, there are different ways of decorating eggs for Easter. For example, popular types of Easter eggs in Ukraine include pysanky (eggs decorated using a wax-resist method), krashanky (one-color dyed eggs), driapanky (dyed eggs with a design scratched on the eggshell), and others.

The most popular Easter egg game in most Eastern Orthodox countries is egg tapping. Each player holds a hard-boiled Easter egg and taps the egg of another player with his or her own. The goal is to crack other players’ eggs while keeping one’s own intact. The winner is the holder of the last intact egg.

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