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Easter Celebration Among Various Christian Groups

Our clinical and support staff at HOPE work with patients from different cultures and religious traditions and we make it a point to respect and support their spiritual observances as much as we can because we understand that faith and spirituality can bring them calm and peace as they deal with various medical issues. This month of April and May is important for our patients who profess the Christian faith and celebrate Easter. But did you know that the two biggest Christian groups observe Easter on two different dates (well, sometimes their Easter dates coincide)?

Easter and Christmas are the two major Christian celebrations that even non-Christians are familiar with, owing to the commercialized celebration of Christmas (at least in Western countries) and the identification of Easter with bunnies and egg hunts.

In countries where there is a sizable number of Christians, such as the United States, most Christians observe the date of Easter according to the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, which in the year 2021, fell on April 4th. But another big Christian group, the Eastern Orthodox, will celebrate their Easter on May 2nd of this year. The reason for this is partly because the Roman Catholic Church shifted to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 to accurately account for the actual time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun, while the Easter Orthodox maintained the Julian Calendar.

The formula for determining the date of Easter was set by the Council of Nicea (meeting of bishops in the city of Nicea, which is in present-day Turkey) in the year 325 AD. The rules state that Easter should be celebrated after the first full moon of the vernal (spring) equinox and should take place after the Jewish Passover, since Jesus celebrated Passover first, then was arrested and crucified a few days later.

So for those who have missed the Easter celebrations on April 4th, there is still another chance to celebrate it with the rest of our Eastern Orthodox brethren on May 2nd!


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