Easter is one of the largest Christian holidays, which is dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Catholics and Orthodox Christians celebrate it on different days, and in 2021 this gap in dates is almost a month! What is this connected with, how the traditions of different branches of Christianity differ - read further in the material.
In 2021, Catholic Easter falls on April 4. In the evening, on the eve of the holiday, a blessed fire is lit in churches. It symbolizes the light that God's son gave to humanity. Easter service is a particularly solemn process: it begins or ends with a procession of the cross. The priests glorify the sacrifice of Christ, who was crucified for the sins of people, and call to life according to religious canons. During the evening Easter service, Easter is lit in churches - the summer candle of the church. The believers carry fire from him to their homes.
Orthodox Easter in 2021 is celebrated later - May 2.
Did you know that this date can be calculated independently, without looking at the calendar? For this, it is important to know that the holiday comes after the vernal equinox, which falls on March 20. We look when after the equinox the first full moon will pass, and after it we look for the first Sunday - this is the date of Orthodox Easter!
In 325, the first Ecumenical Council in the history of Christianity (or Nicene Council) was held in the city of Nicea. Then it was decided to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the vernal equinox and full moon. Since these events do not have a fixed date, Christian Easter is a "mobile" holiday with a time frame from April 4 to May 8. Why do the dates of Catholic and Orthodox Easter not coincide? Disagreements arose as early as the 16th century in connection with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. Catholics switched to it and thus changed the chronology system. And the Orthodox remained faithful to the Julian calendar. This is how disagreements arose in the dates of congratulations on religious holidays, which sometimes reach 13 days or more.
Traditions of celebrating Easter among Catholics and Orthodox are largely the same. For example, observing Great Lent and Holy Week. Believers limit food and entertainment and devote more time to prayer. Thus, they pay tribute to the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of mankind. But the Catholics' fast has significant indulgences: it does not last so long and most of the time it is allowed to consume dairy products.
Another common tradition: Easter is a family holiday. The family gets together, attends Mass in church, and continues to celebrate at home at the Easter table. From that day onwards, the fast officially ends, so meat dishes are allowed. The main attributes of the festive table for Catholics are turkey, colored eggs and butter bread. In different Catholic countries, this special bread is prepared and named differently. In Poland - mazurek (a shortcrust cake with fruit or nut filling), in the UK - cross buns (buns with a cross cut out on top), in Spain - Mona where Pasqua (a cake with chocolate and almonds, decorated with chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs). Over time, the traditional for Christians boiled eggs in the Catholic tradition began to be replaced with chocolate eggs in bright wrappers.
The tradition of celebrating Easter among Catholics has another feature - they have an Easter bunny that brings eggs. The history of its appearance has many legends. One by one, these are echoes of paganism. As if the evil goddess Esther enchanted a chicken into a rabbit. On the other hand, the rabbit is a symbol of fertility. Researchers of traditions have not found a single explanation. But believers don't get upset. After all, the Easter Bunny amuses children. He brings a basket of chocolate delicacies to every house and hides them at home or in the yard. And it happens that chocolate eggs are scattered in different places. And the children start looking, and then enjoy the finds.