Easter is one of the most important and sacred holidays in the Christian calendar, and it is celebrated throughout the world with great pomp. The date of the observance varies from year to year and from one country to another. In Western Christianity, where the Gregorian calendar is used, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, while Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar. In 2011, the date for Western and Eastern Easter coincides and falls on April, 24.
People start getting ready for Orthodox Easter on Holy Thursday by baking traditional Easter breads and dying eggs in red coloring; the vibrant eggs are a symbol of life. The preparations come to a climax toward the end of the Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter. While there are many local customs associated with Orthodox Easter, there are several observed by all.
On the evening of Holy Thursday, church services are held that include a symbolic representation of the crucifixion. The most important day of the Holy Week is Holy Friday, a day of mourning. Traditionally, women and children bring Easter flowers to the church to decorate the Epitaphio.
Holy Saturday is the time for preparing Easter Sunday’s feast which starts after the big midnight service on Saturday and so breaks the long fast. Families not only gather together at a festive table, but also visit their friends and relatives to bring them Easter gifts, gourmet baskets, sweets, bunny plush toys, wine gifts, or flowers. As Orthodox Easter is considered a spring festival, spring flowers like tulips, gerberas, carnations, narcissus as well as any other flower arrangements with seasonal flowers will suit the occasion best. The Easter Lily is another great Easter gift idea, since it has come to symbolize the spiritual values of the holiday: purity, life, and renewal.
Pamper your nearest and dearest after the long fasting period, send them wonderful Easter gifts!
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