The Orthodox Church, also officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, considers itself to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles almost 2,000 years ago. Orthodoxy is the second largest Christian communion in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents. Judaism is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people. Originating in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh) and explored in later texts such as the Talmud, it is considered by Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God developed with the Children of Israel. According to traditional Rabbinic Judaism, God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah (source: wikipedia.org)

Orthodox and Jewish Easter celebrations explained


Easter retains great importance for Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, there is an important procession which symbolizes the failed search for the body of Jesus, followed a return to the church where lit candles symbolize Jesus' resurrection. Orthodox Easter and Christian Easter celebrations practically never fall on the same day, because the Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar when calculating Easter.

Many Protestant churches hold interdenominational services in order to focus on the unity of all Christians and as part of a culmination of special church services throughout Holy Week.

Passover celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. During the Seder ('order' in the Hebrew language) banquet, the Haggadah is read which reenacts the journey.

Passover always begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. Like all Jewish holidays, Passover begins the evening before.

Biblically, Pesach lasts for seven days, but, since Rabbinic times, many communities observe eight days. The prohibition against eating leavened foods lasts until sundown after the final day of the holiday.

Eating specific foodstuffs is an important part of the celebration, with different foods representing historical events.

Matzoh: as a reminder of the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt, leaving no time for dough to rise

Maror: bitter herbs, used to symbolize the bitterness of slavery

Charoses: a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, as a reminder of the mortar used by the Jews in the construction of buildings as slaves
Beitzah: a roasted egg, as a symbol of life and the perpetuation of existence

Karpas: a vegetable (parsley or celery), representing hope and redemption, served with a bowl of salted water to represent the tears shed

Zeroah: traditionally a piece of roasted lamb shankbone, symbolizing the paschal sacrificial offering

Wine: four glasses of wine to represent the four-fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet

  • Easter for Orthodox and Judaism explained
  • Easter in Christianity explained
  • Saint Patrick's Day explained
  • Index