The Institute presents: Orthodox Easter Traditions
It has happened to many of us to wish someone Happy Easter only to be told that they celebrated last week. The reason behind this confusion is that the Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on a different day than the Catholic Church. It is still celebrated as a day for Christians to recognise the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but the date is settled differently.
Easter was established by the First Ecumenical Council (the Council of Nicaea) in AD 325 to be held on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The difference is that the Orthodox Church always celebrates after the Jewish Passover, whilst the Catholic Church did not see this as necessary. Additionally, the Catholic Church switched over to the Gregorian calendar in 1582, whilst the Orthodox Church held to the original calendar system of the Julian calendar.
Furthermore, it is not only the date that differs from region to region. As any cultural event, Easter has taken many different forms in the various countries. A few writers from the Institute will introduce such traditions to you in this article.
Ana Popova: Ruse, Bulgaria
In Bulgaria, Easter is called “Великден” (“Velikden”, bulgarian for “Great Day”), and as the name implies, it is one of the most significant holidays in the Bulgarian calendar. Same as in most countries, eggs are painted in different colours. This fun ritual takes place either o