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, including the Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, the Russian Orthodox Church, and many others. 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 2017Sunday, April 16, 2017
Orthodox Easter 2018Sunday, April 8, 2018
Name in other languages
|Domingo de Pascua Ortodoxa||Spanish|
|חג הפסחא אורתודוקסי||Hebrew|
|الأرثوذكسية عيد الفصح||Arabic|
- Orthodox Good Friday – Friday, April 14, 2017
- Orthodox Holy Saturday – Saturday, April 15, 2017
- Orthodox Easter Monday – Monday, April 17, 2017
Other holidays in April 2018 in the United States
- Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 1, 2018
- Easter Monday – Monday, April 2, 2018
- Orthodox Good Friday – Friday, April 6, 2018
- Last Day of Passover – Saturday, April 7, 2018
- Orthodox Easter Monday – Monday, April 9, 2018
- National Library Workers' Day – Tuesday, April 10, 2018
- Yom HaShoah – Wednesday, April 11, 2018
- Isra and Mi'raj – Friday, April 13, 2018
- Father Damien Day – Sunday, April 15, 2018
- Emancipation Day – Monday, April 16, 2018
- Tax Day – Tuesday, April 17, 2018
- Yom Ha'atzmaut – Thursday, April 19, 2018
- San Jacinto Day – Saturday, April 21, 2018
- Oklahoma Day – Sunday, April 22, 2018
- Confederate Memorial Day – Monday, April 23, 2018
- Administrative Professionals Day – Wednesday, April 25, 2018
- State Holiday – Thursday, April 26, 2018
- Arbor Day – Friday, April 27, 2018
- State Holiday – Monday, April 30, 2018