In Western Christianity, Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday and Ash Wednesday is not observed.
Because of Easter’s pagan origins, and also because of the commercialization of Easter, many Christian churches choose to refer to the holiday as Resurrection Day. In Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon. Beginning in 325 AD with the Council of Nicea), the Western Church decided to established a more standardized system for determining the date of Easter.
In 2013, for example, Easter was celebrated on March 31 by Western churches and May 5 by Orthodox churches. But in 2014, the two celebrations occur on the same date, April 20. Western churches use the Gregorian calendar, the standard calendar for much of the world, and Orthodox churches use the older, Julian calendar.
That much is straightforward. But actually calculating these dates involves a bewildering array of ecclesiastical moons and paschal full moons, the astronomical equinox, and the fixed equinox— and that’s in addition to the two different calendar systems.
The two churches vary on the definition of the vernal equinox and the full moon. The Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem, site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection
The Eastern Orthodox Church also applies the formula so that Easter always falls after Passover, since the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ took place after he entered Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. In the Western Church, Easter sometime
A meeting was organized by the Council of World Churches (in Aleppo, Syria, March 5–10, 1997) Where a solution was proposed and thought to be favorable to both East and West: both methods of calculating the equinox and the paschal full moon would be replaced with the most advanced astronomically accurate calculations available, using the meridian of Jerusalem as the point of measure. Since that meeting, however, no further progress has been made and the problem remains.
Fasika (Orthodox Easter)
April 15, 2012; May 5, 2013; April 20, 2014; April 12, 2015; May 1, 2016
Fasika is Ethiopian Easter and is celebrated in conjunction with Orthodox Easter celebrations around the world. Fasika is the most important holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar and follows a long 55-day fast, where no meat or dairy products are consumed. Strict followers generally consume one meal of vegetables and lentils during this time. Church services are attended on the eve before the holiday, where revelers participate in a colorful service lit with candles. The following day, families and friends celebrate Fasika with special feasts that mark the end of the long fast. Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew, is the most traditional food served in all households. Celebrations continue for the following week, with an unofficial “second Fasika” the following weekend.
Axum has a colorful procession for Palm Sunday (known as Hosanna), the week before Fasika which is well worth a visit. Like most holidays, the celebration takes place the night before the actually holiday (Saturday night).
Since the beginning of the 20th century, a proposal to change Easter to a fixed holiday rather than a movable one has been widely circulated, and in 1963 the Second Vatican Council agreed, provided a consensus could be reached among Christian churches. The second Sunday in April has been suggested as the most likely date. precedes Passover by weeks
The Easter Bunny
Some believe, rabbits were associated with the Teutonic deity Eostra, the goddess of spring and fertility, for their especially high reproduction rate. Eggs, and especially their hatching, are another symbol of spring with roots in pagan tradition, according to History.com.
Germanic, pagan, spring traditions and Christian resurrection tradition were quickly melded together as Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in the region around the 15th century, according to Discovery. As a result, the Easter Bunny tradition in America takes its roots in the German settlers of Pennsylvania
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs