Orthodox Easter in the United States
Many Orthodox Christians in the United States celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. The Orthodox Christian date for Easter Sunday often occurs at a later date than the Easter date observed by many western churches. The day is also known as Pascha, Easter and Easter Day.
What Do People Do?
Many Orthodox Christian churches, including the Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox churches, celebrate the “miracle of Easter” on the Easter Sunday date in the Julian calendar. Many people see Easter as the most important event in the church calendar. Orthodox Easter preparations begin with 40 days of strict fasting prior to Easter Day. Many Orthodox Christians attend liturgies during the Holy Week that leads up to Easter Sunday.
Some Americans who are members of the Russian Orthodox Christian community still practice the tradition of laying Easter eggs and Easter bread on dead relatives’ graves. This practice is a way of greeting the dead with news that Jesus Christ has risen. Many Greek Orthodox Christians buy Easter bread, known as tsoureki, and prepare lamb for the Easter feast.
Another tradition observed in many Orthodox Christian churches is the blessing of food baskets. The baskets are usually filled with bread, cheese, meat, eggs, butter, salt, and other types of food used for Paschal celebrations. The fasting period has ended and meat and dairy products can be eaten.
The Orthodox Christian date for Easter Sunday is not a federal public holiday in the United States. However, it is held on a Sunday, which is a non-school day and non-working day for many Americans.
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 after the time of the March equinox.
There are different types of Orthodox churches that are well established in the United States. Some of these churches include the Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America can be traced back to the late 18th century, where a Russian church was built on Kodiak Island in Alaska during that period. Alaska was previously part of Russia until the United States bought the land. The number of Greek Orthodox churches grew as Greek immigration increased after the late 19th century in the United States.
The Easter egg is hard-boiled and often 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. 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 countriesRead more about Orthodox Easter.
Orthodox Easter Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Sun||Apr 4||2010||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 24||2011||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 15||2012||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||May 5||2013||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 20||2014||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 12||2015||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||May 1||2016||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 16||2017||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 8||2018||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 28||2019||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
|Sun||Apr 19||2020||Orthodox Easter||Orthodox|
Quick FactsMany Orthodox Christians in the United States mark Easter Sunday, also known as Pascha, as the day Jesus Christ was resurrected, according to the Christian bible.
Orthodox Easter 2016Sunday, May 1, 2016
Orthodox Easter 2017Sunday, April 16, 2017
Name in other languages
|Domingo de Pascua Ortodoxa||Spanish|
|חג הפסחא אורתודוקסי||Hebrew|
|الأرثوذكسية عيد الفصح||Arabic|
- Orthodox Good Friday – Friday, April 29, 2016
- Orthodox Holy Saturday – Saturday, April 30, 2016
- Orthodox Easter Monday – Monday, May 2, 2016
Other holidays in May 2017 in the United States
- Law Day – Monday, May 1, 2017
- Yom Ha'atzmaut – Tuesday, May 2, 2017
- Kent State Shootings Remembrance – Thursday, May 4, 2017
- Cinco de Mayo – Friday, May 5, 2017
- National Nurses Day – Saturday, May 6, 2017
- Truman Day – Monday, May 8, 2017
- State Holiday – Wednesday, May 10, 2017
- Lag BaOmer – Sunday, May 14, 2017
- Peace Officers Memorial Day – Monday, May 15, 2017
- National Defense Transportation Day – Friday, May 19, 2017
- Armed Forces Day – Saturday, May 20, 2017
- National Maritime Day – Monday, May 22, 2017
- Emergency Medical Services for Children Day – Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- Ascension Day – Thursday, May 25, 2017
- Ramadan starts – Saturday, May 27, 2017
- Memorial Day – Monday, May 29, 2017
- Shavuot – Wednesday, May 31, 2017