Holidays and Holy Days Around the World

End of Lent and Easter


For Christians, the sacrificial period of Lent ends with Holy Week and Easter, seen by many Christians as their most important holy day.  This period commemorates Christian belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Eastern Orthodox Christians start next weekend with “Lazarus Saturday” (April 16), celebrating the Biblical account of the resurrection of Lazarus.  In Greece, this day is accompanied by the eating of spice breads known as “Lazariki.”  Christians in the Western tradition generally start the week with Palm Sunday (April 10), and it culminates with Good Friday on April 15 and Easter on Sunday, April 17.  According to New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, the painting of eggs is one of the oldest customs associated with Easter.  It may have arisen because the eating of eggs was forbidden during Lent, but also because of the metaphorical connection between an egg and birth or resurrection.

Why does the date of Easter move around every year?  According to the Christian Council of Nicea (325 A.D. / C.E.), Easter is held on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox.  The Vernal, or Spring Equinox is based upon the solar calendar, but there are 12 solar months in a 365 day solar year, but 13 lunar months.  Therefore these calendars do not exactly coincide.  The Vernal Equinox was on March 20, and this year (2022) the next full moon is on April 16, and Easter falls on the first Sunday afterwards, April 17.