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Easter celebrates in Eastern Europe

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Kiev: Easter is being celebrated in Eastern Europe while Kiev and Sofia are considered as top two holidays destinations during Easter vacations. Eastern European and Central Asian countries celebrate Easter during May 3 to May 7.

The most beautiful symbol of Ukrainian Easter is Easter egg (Pysanka). The practice of decorating eggshell is ancient, pre-dating Christian traditions. Ostrich eggs with engraved decoration that are 60,000 years old have been found in Africa. Decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as early as 5,000 years ago the custom of the Easter egg originated before Christianity in the ancient Egyptian celebration of Shemu (now called Sham el nessem; It is a day that follows Easter Sunday) which is the season of harvest and rebirth, where they wrote their wishes on painted eggs and put them on windows and trees to receive the blessings of the first rays of the morning light produced by sun god Ra.

In particular, the custom of the Easter egg originated in early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion.  The Christian Church officially adopted the custom, regarding the eggs as a symbol of the resurrection; in A.D. 1610, Pope Paul V proclaimed the following prayer.

Countries that officially observe the Orthodox Easter period include: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. There are no federal Orthodox Easter public holidays in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, it is a time for families and friends of the Orthodox Christian faith to gather together and to celebrate the Orthodox Easter period.

In 325CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the March equinox. Easter is delayed one week if the full moon is on Sunday, which decreases the chances of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover.

Although the Council of Nicaea established the Easter date for churches around the world, not all Christian churches observe Easter according the Gregorian calendar. Many Orthodox churches still observe Easter in accordance with the Julian calendar.

In the Orthodox circles, tensions exist between New Calendarists – those who use the revised Julian calendar for calculating the feasts of the ecclesiastical year – and Old Calendarists – those who continue to use the traditional Julian calendar. The calendar question reflects the dispute between those who wish to synchronize with the modern Gregorian calendar and those who wish to maintain the traditional ecclesiastical calendar based on the Julian calendar.

There have been a number of proposed Easter date reforms. In 1997 the World Council of Churches proposed a reform to solve the Easter date difference between churches that observe the Gregorian calendar and those that observe the Julian calendar. So far, this reform has not been implemented.

Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human 🙂 Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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