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Orthodox Easter in Australia

Quick Facts

Many Orthodox Christians in Australia celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, also known as Pascha.

Local names

NameLanguage
Orthodox EasterEnglish
Orthodoxer OstersonntagGerman

Orthodox Easter 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Orthodox Easter 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015
List of dates for other years

Many Orthodox Christians in Australia celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. The Orthodox Christian date for Easter Sunday is often observed at a later date than the Easter date observed by many western churches. The day is known as Pascha, as well as the Sunday of the Resurrection.

Roasted Lamb Rack

Lamb is a popular Easter dish served among many Orthodox Christians in Australia.

©iStockphoto.com/Brett Mulcahy

What do people do?

Many Orthodox Christians in Australia celebrate Pascha according to the Easter date in the Julian calendar. Easter is the most important event in the church calendar. The Easter Sunday church liturgies are joyous as they celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection, according to Christian belief, as well as spiritual victory.

Many Orthodox Christians in Australia fast during Lent prior to Easter. Easter Sunday is a time for families and friends to get together for a festive meal, where meat and dairy products can be eaten again. Lamb and tsourekia (or tsoureki), which is a type of Easter bread, are popular Easter dishes in many Greek Orthodox communities in Australia.

Traditional Easter egg games are also popular. Each person takes a dyed red egg and tries to crack other challengers’ eggs. This game symbolizes Jesus Christ breaking from his tomb. The person whose egg lasts the longest is assured good luck for the rest of the year. Some people bring dyed Easter eggs to church to be blessed at the Easter liturgy.

Special egg painting workshops for pysanky (special type of Easter eggs) are held in some cities, such as Sydney, prior to the Orthodox Easter date. These beautifully decorated eggs are customary in some eastern European countries such as Ukraine. Many people are banned from setting off fireworks during the Easter celebrations. Fireworks can only be used by a licensed pyrotechnician in many places, such as the state of Victoria.

Public life

The Orthodox Christian date for Easter Sunday is not a federal public holiday in Australia. However, it is held on a Sunday, which is a non-school day and non-working day for many Australians. Sunday trading hours still apply in areas where there is Sunday trading, particularly in major cities. 

Background

Many Orthodox churches base their Easter date on the Julian calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar that is used by many western countries. Therefore the Orthodox Easter period often occurs later than the Easter period that falls around the time of the March equinox.

There are different types of Orthodox churches in Australia, including the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and the Greek Orthodox Church. There are many Greek Orthodox Christians in Australia. The federal government’s 2006 census recorded that there were 109,980 Greece-born people in Australia, with the largest numbers in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland. The census also showed that 100,460 Greece-born Australians are of the Eastern Orthodox faith.

Symbols

The Easter egg is hard-boiled and dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. It was an important symbol connected with spring fertility rituals in many early civilizations. Many Greek Orthodox Christians rap their eggs against their friends' eggs and the owner of the last uncracked egg is considered lucky.

The Orthodox custom of decorating the round Easter bread with red eggs at the four edges of the cross on the bread dates back to around the 12th century. Another important symbol associated with Easter is the lamb. It is often depicted with a banner that bears a cross, and it is known as the Agnus Dei, meaning "Lamb of God" in Latin.

About Orthodox Easter in other countries

Read more about Orthodox Easter.

Orthodox Easter Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SunApr 151990Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 71991Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 261992Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 181993Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunMay 11994Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 231995Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 141996Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 271997Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 191998Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 111999Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 302000Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 152001Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunMay 52002Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 272003Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 112004Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunMay 12005Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 232006Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 82007Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 272008Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 192009Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 42010Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 242011Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 152012Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunMay 52013Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 202014Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 122015Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunMay 12016Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 162017Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 82018Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 282019Orthodox EasterOrthodox 
SunApr 192020Orthodox EasterOrthodox 

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2014 in Australia

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