Why is Greek Orthodox Easter different? Everything you need to know

Why is Greek Orthodox Easter different? Everything you need to know

Easter is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar. But have you ever noticed that the Greek Orthodox Easter doesn't typically fall on the same day as other Christian denominations? There is a valid explanation for this. The Orthodox Christian Church uses a different calendar to determine what day Easter should be celebrated. Consequently, Orthodox Christians in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa celebrate Easter later than those in the Western world.

Greek Orthodox Easter
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Source: UGC

Greek Easter occurs on a different day of the year from Easter, which most Western Christians observe. A startling tale that dates back to ancient Rome explains why it is a different day. However, although Easter is celebrated differently, both festivals commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. But what is the difference between Easter and Resurrection Sunday? These two words are used interchangeably to refer to the same day.

What is Greek Orthodox Easter?

Orthodox Easter is celebration when Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter. It is also called Greek Easter or, more formally, Greek Orthodox Easter. As with the Easter date observed by Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, it varies annually based on the spring equinox.

Greek Orthodox Easter
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Source: UGC

Every Easter, Greeks thank Jesus Christ for dying on the cross for their sins. They celebrate the miracle of the Resurrection, Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the promise of eternity.

Why is Greek Orthodox Easter different?

Orthodox Easter differs substantially from Roman Catholics, Protestants, and other Western Christians observing Easter. This is because of the different types of calendars used, the 40 days of Lent before Easter, the abundance of symbolism, the solemnity of Holy Week, and the distinctive rituals.

Why is Greek Orthodox Easter on a different day than Catholic Easter?

There are three reasons why Greek Easter fall on a different day. Here is why Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated on a different day from the rest:

Julian Calendar

When determining the date of Easter, the Orthodox Church employs the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. Julius Caesar officially adopted this calendar in 45 B.C., and it was widely used until the early 16th century. This indicates that this calendar was used when the Orthodox Church was established.

Even though most of the world currently uses the Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar is still used by the Orthodox church to calculate the day of Easter. For this reason, the day falls on a different date.


Orthodox Christians commemorate Holy Week, which starts on Palm Sunday, after the 40 days of Great Lent. Jesus was welcomed as a king when he first arrived in Jerusalem. This occasion is commemorated on Palm Sunday. Orthodox Christians remember the incidents that led to his arrest, execution, and resurrection as Holy Week unfolds.

All of these things happened in the Bible after Passover. Whether or not the Last Supper was a Passover dinner is a topic of some discussion among experts. Yet, it is acknowledged in the Orthodox Church that Jesus and His Disciples ate this Passover dinner together. Passover occurs at a different time each year, making it another variable that affects the timing of the festival.

Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox is also a crucial component in calculating Greek Easter. The festival is often celebrated on the first full moon following the Spring Equinox and Passover. It's date might vary from early spring to late spring, depending on how the calculations fall. It could be early April one year. Some years, it may occur at the start of May. But, because it varies from year to year, this is yet another variable that could impact when the celebration occurs.

How is Greek Easter celebrated?

Greek Orthodox Easter
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Source: UGC

In the Orthodox Church, preparations commence with Great Lent, 40 days of introspection and fasting beginning on Clean Monday and concluding on Lazarus Saturday. Clean Monday refers to the cleansing of believers' sins during Lent. Lazarus Saturday occurs eight days before Easter Sunday and marks the conclusion of Great Lent, although fasting continues during Holy Week.

Whereas Western Christians may abstain from foods like soda, chocolate, or alcohol, Orthodox Christians must abstain from meat and dairy. After Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus Christ's arrival into Jerusalem one week before the Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Church attendance is a significant component of the festivities, and important services begin on Good Friday. Essential prayers occur on Easter Sunday morning, and that is when festivities start, church bells ring, and fireworks and firecrackers are sent off to commemorate Christ's resurrection.

Traditions after the Lent period centre around eating. Orthodox Christians in Greece typically partake of Tsoureki, a delicious Easter bread, and grilled lamb on a barbeque spit.

When is Greek Orthodox Easter?

Usually, the Greek Orthodox Easter takes place between 4 April and 8 May each year. This year, it falls on Sunday, 16 April 2023. On the other hand, other Christian denominations, including Catholics, will be marking Easter on Sunday, 9 April 2023. So, which Easter is correct, Catholic or Orthodox? The two days are correct; the calendars are behind the difference.

Why did the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches split?

The split of medieval Christianity in 1054 formed the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. This division is generally called the East-West Schism or the Great Schism. Various theological and political differences, including miscommunication, geography, divergent theologies, and politics, caused the Schism.

What is the difference between Orthodox Easter and regular Easter?

One of the main differences between Orthodox Easter and regular Easter is the date on which they are celebrated. Orthodox Easter typically falls later in the year than Western Easter, as the Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Easter also typically involves more elaborate and traditional rituals and practices, and there may be some differences in specific religious traditions and customs.

Historically, the Pope is the leader of the entire Church, but the two churches disputed who possessed ultimate power, which language services should be conducted, and other matters.

The Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated annually to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. However, unlike other Christian denominations, the Orthodox church celebrates this day on a different date, in different ways, and incorporates unique rituals from the rest.

Yen.com.gh recently published an article on why the International Day of Happiness is celebrated. The International Day of Happiness is celebrated annually on 20 March. It is a chance for everyone to reflect on what makes them happy, to take action to make others and themselves happier, and to learn new ways to be cheerful.

The day aims to raise global awareness about the importance of happiness. It is also a day to encourage people to take positive steps to enhance well-being and happiness.

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Source: YEN.com.gh

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