Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Monday, April 17, 2006

Save those eggs!

Sad that Easter's over? Have no fear. Celebrate the holiday again with your Christian Orthodox friends.

OK, so the local Orthodox community isn't exactly huge -- it numbers in the hundreds -- which might explain why few people know that Orthodox Christians (an ancient strain of Christianity stemming from the Byzantine Empire and now centered in Greece and Russia) will celebrate Jesus' resurrection April 23, a week after most Americans have recovered from their Peep-scarfing stomachaches.

Why is this? Well, have no fear, dear blog reader. I'll tell you.

The reason Easter jumps around so much -- for every Easter celebrant -- is because the holiday's hooked to the solar, lunar and kitchen calendar: It's the first Sunday AFTER the first full moon AFTER the spring equinox (March 21). You follow?

For centuries, the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church agreed on this complicated little formula to determine Easter. But these two Christian strains have always had their differences, and when the Catholic church reformed its calendar in 1582 (to the one we're all familiar with, with a leap day added to February every fourth year), Catholic Europe suddenly found itself celebrating Easter on a different timetable than the Orthodox east. The Orthodox church has resisted altering its own timetable, so the Orthodox Easter typically falls after the Catholic/Protestant Easter, sometimes by as much as five weeks.

There: A little trivia with which to impress your friends.


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