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Orthodox Easter

Orthodox Easter 2019 and 2020

Easter in Romania is celebrated according to the Julian Calendar used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, rather than on the date used in Catholic, Protestant, and other Western churches that use the Gregorian Calendar. “Orthodox Easter” often, but not always, occurs a little later in the year than does non-Orthodox Easter.

YearDateDayHoliday
201926 AprFriOrthodox Good Friday
28 AprSunOrthodox Easter Sunday
29 AprMonOrthodox Easter Monday
202017 AprFriOrthodox Good Friday
19 AprSunOrthodox Easter Sunday
20 AprMonOrthodox Easter Monday

In Romania, both Orthodox Easter Day and Orthodox Easter Monday are public holidays. Orthodox Easter is followed in 23 other countries besides Romania, including Russia, Greece, and the neighbouring states of Ukraine and Bulgaria. In all, about 250 million people celebrate Orthodox Easter every year all around the world.

Orthodox churches in Romania use special liturgies during their Easter services, which are held all across the country. Families also gather together at home to feast and enjoy each other’s company. Easter dinner will typically include a spit-roasted, herb-spiced lamb as the main course, red Easter eggs, and various vegetable sides. You may also encounter “drob,” a mixture of lamb innards, vegetables, and spices.

Easter eggs are decorated very ornately in Romania, exquisite patterns being created by applying then melting off wax or by etching them on with a pin or needle. Red eggs, meant to symbolise the shed blood of Christ, are most common, but you will also commonly see yellow, green, blue, and black dyed eggs. Popular patterns include crosses, leaves, animals, and an eerie scene called “Lost Path,” which has lost souls walking on to Judgment Day.

Romanians sometimes knock Easter eggs together, in the belief that doing so ensure you will meet the owner of the other egg in the afterlife. They also keep candles used during Easter mass, considering them a symbol of divine protection.

One special symbol of Easter to Romanians is a banner that bears both a cross and a lamb on it. This is meant to remind them of Christ, the Lamb of God, who Christians believe died and rose again to do away with the sins of many. You may well see this banner in homes or even on public display during the Easter season in Romania.

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