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Easter Sunday remains the main holiday for all believers. However, Catholics and Orthodox Christians are distinguished by the peculiarities of celebrating religious events. So, Catholic Easter in 2023 will be celebrated on April 9, unlike adherents of another direction, for whom the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ is scheduled a week later. Many rituals, attributes of the church celebration coincide.

Calendar difference

Initially, Easter was celebrated every week - on Friday they remembered the suffering of the crucified Jesus, on Sunday they glorified his resurrection. Since the second century, Christians have celebrated Easter once a year, following the custom of the Jewish Pesach. In 325, according to the decision of the Council of Nicaea, the celebration was established according to the rules:

    • to spend in the spring after the equinox and the first full moon;
    • celebrate on different dates with the Jews;
    • meet Easter on Sunday, the first day of the week.

    When the Christian and Jewish Passovers coincided, the calculations according to the Julian calendar were from the onset of the full moon in the next month.

    Over time, the days of the full moon and equinox on calendars no longer coincide with astronomical phenomena. By the 16th century the differencewas ten days, which served as the basis for the adoption of the Gregorian calendar by the Pope. However, the Patriarch of Constantinople refused to recognize the new chronology and those who accepted it.

    Calculations according to different systems have caused Catholics and Orthodox believers to celebrate the holiday on different days. The desire for accuracy sometimes leads to the fact that the Christian Easter turns out to be earlier than the Jewish one - according to the gospel interpretation, an unacceptable sequence of events, since Christ resurrected after the Jewish Passover on the first Sunday.

    The dates of the Easter celebration in Julian and Gregorian calculus can coincide, which happens about three times in 19 years, then representatives of different faiths celebrate Bright Sunday together.


    Expectation and preparation for the celebration of Catholic Easter, like the Orthodox, takes place in the form of fasting. However, the Western Church does not require long-term abstinence and strict adherence to strict conditions. Catholics are more immersed in spiritual self-purification.

    Strict fasting rules apply only for three days. Catholics are not prohibited from eating animal products, dairy products, fish dishes, eggs.

    Features of Catholic Easter

    Besides its date of celebration, there are other differences from Orthodox traditions:

    • for Christians, the main miracle of Easter is manifested in the descent of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem. Candles lit from the Holy Light are carried all over the world. Catholics do not recognize the divinethe origin of fire, instead of it, large bonfires are kindled in the courtyards of temples on the night of Easter Sunday. After the evening service, parishioners light candles from the fire, carry them home burning, protecting them from fading;
    • on the eve of Catholic Easter there is a custom to baptize adults, which is especially appreciated as God's grace;
    • It is not customary for Catholics to christenate, as in Orthodoxy - to kiss on both cheeks, to report the good news "Christ is risen!" and expect the answer "Truly Risen!";
    • at the festive meal on Catholic Easter there is no Easter cake, traditional for Orthodox believers, which serves as the main decoration of the table. In the West, Easter pastries are rich in variety - they bake small cinnamon buns, prepare spikelet-shaped bread, and serve pies with fruit fillings. There is no custom to consecrate Easter food in Catholicism; believers do not take painted eggs to church;
    • The main symbols of Catholic Easter include images of rabbits (bunnies), painted eggs. It is believed that the fluffy animal brings sweet gifts in baskets, arranges entertainment;
    • Orthodox believers have a respectful attitude towards red-colored eggs, they symbolize the blood of Jesus, the joy of the Resurrection. Catholics often decorate holiday baskets with plastic equivalents, chocolate treats. Children love games where the idea is to find hidden eggs and candies in the grass. Everyone enthusiastically walks around with a basket and fills it with festive "loot".

    Interesting facts

    Many askthe question of why Easter eggs are brought by a rabbit (bunny) and not by a chicken. Popular belief says that the reason lies in the machinations of the evil goddess Estra, who once turned a chicken into a hare, but he, as in his former appearance, brought eggs.

    Another explanation has to do with the belief that hares are able to give birth without conception, which correlated with the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary. The appearance of rabbits from underground holes was reminiscent of the resurrection of Christ by leaving the tomb.

    Interestingly, if the image of a rabbit is present in the traditions of the celebration of Catholics, then the egg unites all Christian denominations as one of the main symbols of Easter.

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