For Catholics and Protestants, Easter already happened this past Sunday. However, for Orthodox-Christians it is still to come. Why, you might ask? The reason has to do with the different calendars that Orthodox and non-Orthodox churches follow.
I learned from Kathleen Manning’s article that Pope Gregory XIII decided to implement a new calendar for areas under Catholic influence in 1582, because the old one – the Julian calendar – was 11 minutes too long. To fix this issue of time, Gregory zapped 13 days from the old Julian year which moved the official day of spring – the Spring Equinox – from April 3 to March 21. Now, you may or may not know (I didn’t until earlier today) that Easter always falls on the Sunday following the first full moon on or after the Spring Equinox. Since Orthodox churches follow April 3 as the Equinox, the timing of the full moon can make Easter land on a different day. Last year, for example, there was a full moon on April 15 – after the Equinox date on both calendars – so Easter was celebrated on the same day. This year, because of the timing of the full moon, Easters are separated by a week (the Orthodox one being on April 12)-meaning bonus celebrations for any families that might have a mixture of Orthodox and non Orthodox backgrounds!
In Chicago, there are thousands of immigrants from countries with predominantly Christian Orthodox backgrounds. Check out the Christian Orthodox Countries map below, and whether you’ve celebrated it already or not, happy Easter!