What Is Orthodox Easter? Your Biggest Questions About Orthodox and Greek Easter Answered


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Keeping track of when Easter falls each year is often tricky enough for many, but Orthodox Easter and Greek Easter can be even more confusing to those who aren’t members of Orthodox churches. Find out what sets these Easter celebrations apart and why they’re scheduled differently than other Christian holidays honoring the resurrection.

What is Greek Orthodox Easter?

Greek Orthodox Easter is the conclusion of Greek Orthodox’s “Great Lent,” a strict 40-day period of fasting. Great Lent ends on Lazarus Saturday, which is when Orthodox Christians believe Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead. Greek Orthodox Easter, like other Easter celebrations, honors the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion.

Many of the Easter traditions and symbols are the same as other Christian Easter celebrations, including church services, feasting and a preponderance of lilies.

Who celebrates Orthodox Easter?

Eastern Orthodox and Greek Orthodox believers celebrate Orthodox Easter.

When is Orthodox Easter?

Greek Easter and Orthodox Easter always fall between April 4 and May 8 each year. This is because Orthodox believers’ religious holidays are dictated by the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian (secular) calendar that most other modern civilizations use. Additionally, according to the Bible, Jesus died and was resurrected after going to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. As a result, Greek Orthodox believers always celebrate Easter after Passover ends.

When is Orthodox Easter 2024?

Orthodox Easter falls on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

When is Greek Easter?

Greek Easter is the same as Orthodox Easter. As such, it always falls after Passover, sometime between April 4 and May 8 annually.

When is Greek Easter 2024?

Greek Easter is on Sunday, May 5, 2024. 

Related: How Do You Track the Easter Bunny? Easter Bunny Trackers to Keep Tabs on Everyone’s Favorite Rabbit

Why is Easter a different date in Greece?

The Greek Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar that most other Christian believers (and secular civilizations) use. Greek Easter is also dictated by the Hebrew calendar because it always falls after Passover.

Is Greek Easter the same as Orthodox Easter? Why is Greek Orthodox Easter different?

Greek Easter is the same day as Orthodox Easter, but the individual celebrations vary by specific churches, locations and cultures. Most honor the holiday with church services called Paschal Vigils on Holy Saturday, the day before Jesus’ resurrection. 

While many Christian churches hold sunrise services on Easter Sunday, many Orthodox churches instead mark the resurrection with a midnight service, during which candles are lit and celebrants chant “Christos Anesti” (meaning “Christ is risen”).

Orthodox and Greek Orthodox feasts may be held immediately after midnight mass, though some save it for dinner on Sunday. These meals typically include red-dyed hardboiled eggs (to symbolize the blood of Christ) and lamb, the latter of which is considered a symbol of Christ in the Bible, as well as of sacrifices associated with Passover. Greek Easter dinners will also often feature Tsoureki, a traditional sweet Easter bread similar to the Italian variety, usually served with a red hardboiled egg inside.

Related: 10 No-Dye, No-Mess Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

What do you call Greek Easter?

Greek Easter is also called “Pascha.” This means “Passover” in Greek, but the meaning of Passover in this context is different from the Jewish holiday of the same name. In the Greek Orthodox, Pascha as a holiday stands for “the eternal Passover from death to life from earth heaven.”

What is Orthodox Easter’s meaning?

Orthodox Easter’s meaning is essentially the same as that of regular Easter: It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of new and eternal life after death.

Next, if you can’t always find the right words, check out these eight Greek words for love.


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