Today over 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate Easter. Observances of this holiday are referred to as Pascha, Coptic Easter, or one of many other variants. For many in the western world, the Easter celebration has already taken place. However, Eastern Orthodox Easter is set by the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Christians observe today's holiday in Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Ukraine, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, Serbia, and many nations across the globe.

According to the BBC:

What is Orthodox Easter?

Both Orthodox Easter and Easter Sunday are Christian festivals where believers celebrate the resurrection of Jesus - it's the most important festival in the Christian Calendar.

A Greek Orthodox altar boy holds up a ceremonial cross

In eastern Orthodox Christianity, the preparations begin with Great Lent, 40 days of reflection and fasting, which starts on Clean Monday and ends on Lazarus Saturday.

Clean Monday refers to believers being cleaned of their sins during Lent. Lazarus Saturday falls eight days before Easter Sunday and signifies the end of Great Lent, although the fasting continues into Holy Week.

Next comes Palm Sunday, one week before Easter, remembering the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, followed by Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday.

Why are the dates different?

Wherever you live in the world, Easter is always a moveable feast day. Unlike Christmas, it doesn't take place on the same day every year.

These Macedonian Christians celebrate Easter at a monastery

Orthodox churches in some countries including Greece, Cyprus and Romania base their Easter date on the Julian calendar.

The Julian Calendar was designed by Julius Caesar in 45 BC - basing a year on the time it takes the Sun to go around the Earth.

The Gregorian Calendar was created by Pope Gregory in 1582 to fix some of the glitches in the Julian Calendar as astronomy became more accurate.

Great Britain changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.

Also in the eastern Orthodox Church, Easter must happen after the Jewish festival of Passover - as in the Easter story, Jesus celebrates Passover before his death.

In 2021 Passover ended on 4 April.

According toLearn Religions:

It is customary among Orthodox Christians to greet one another during the Easter season with the Paschal greeting. The salutation begins with the phrase, "Christ is Risen!" The response is "Truly; He is Risen!" The phrase "Christos Anesti" (Greek for "Christ is Risen") is also the title of a traditional Orthodox Easter hymn sung during Easter services in celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection.

In the Orthodox tradition, eggs are a symbol of new life. Early Christians used eggs to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the regeneration of believers. At Easter, eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for the redemption of all men.

Pryor Cashman wishes all of our friends and family that celebrate Eastern Orthodox Easter a Happy Easter.

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