Orthodox Easter

Orthodox Easter Quick Facts - AU

AKA NamePascha, Feast of Feasts
HashtagsCompiled on#OrthodoxEaster
Related Hashtags#Easter, #Ukraine, #Orthodox
2024 Date5 May 2024
2025 Date20 April 2025

Orthodox Easter

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Orthodox Easter History

Orthodox Easter, also known as Pascha, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an event at the heart of Christian faith. The holy week preceding Orthodox Easter is marked by numerous church services, each representing a different stage of Christ's Passion, culminating in the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Due to the Julian calendar's application, Orthodox Easter often falls on a different date than Western Christian Easter. It's noted that the first Orthodox Christians in Australia were the Russian settlers who arrived in the 19th Century, and since then, the population has grown, particularly from the influx of Greek, Serbian, and Lebanese immigrants in the 20th Century. In Australia, Orthodox Easter has come to incorporate a mix of traditions from various Orthodox nationalities, making it a uniquely multicultural event.

In Australia, Orthodox Easter observances mirror worldwide Orthodox Easter practices but with a distinctive Australian touch. Parishioners attend liturgical services throughout Holy Week, which include the Divine Liturgy and the Midnight Office. On Easter Sunday, people gather with family and friends to break their Lenten fast and celebrate the Resurrection. Services often conclude with the distribution of red eggs symbolising Christ's blood. The dates for the celebration in Australia will typically coincide with the same dates that Orthodox Easter is observed globally. However, this celebration occurs after the Western Easter due to the use of a different calendar.

Facts about Orthodox Easter

  • Easter is often called Pascha in the Orthodox tradition. Pascha normally falls either one or five weeks later than the feast as observed by Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar. However, occasionally the two observances coincide, and on occasion they can be four weeks apart.
  • In the Orthodox tradition, the Easter season lasts for 100 days. It begins as a time of preparation, 49 days before the holiday. The following 50 days after Easter are dedicated for strengthening faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The Holy Fire ritual is also observed among Orthodox Christians in Australia. The Holy Fire is a miraculous event that takes place every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Holy Saturday, the day before Orthodox Easter. The Holy Fire is then transferred by plane to various Orthodox countries, occasionally reaching communities in Australia as well.
  • Many Orthodox Christians in Australia break their fast (as part of Lent) after the midnight church service. Traditional foods consumed include lamb, tsoureki (a sweet bread), and red eggs that symbolise the blood of Christ.

Top things to do in Australia for Orthodox Easter

  • Wear some new clothes to church. This is an ancient tradition that goes back to the early church when newly baptized persons were given a white gown to wear on Easter.
  • Take an Easter basket to an Orthodox church and have it blessed. Some Eastern Orthodox Church members put together special baskets with particular items that symbolize different aspects of their faith. These items often include bread, wine, salt, cheese, ham, and horseradish.
  • Attend the Easter Show in Sydney: Although it's not exclusively an Orthodox event, this annual event is a popular attraction around Easter time featuring agricultural displays, food & wine showcases, and entertainment.
  • Prepare traditional meals for the occasion of Orthodox Easter in Australia:
    1) Avgolemono Soup: A traditional Greek soup made of chicken broth, rice, and lemon, often enjoyed as a starter on the Orthodox Easter table.
    2) Red Eggs: Eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, and are a key element of the Orthodox Easter celebration. They are often used in the game of egg tapping or egg cracking, to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus.
    3) Spanakopita: A Greek spinach and feta pie which would make a tasty addition to an Easter feast.

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