For many Easter was celebrated on Sunday, here in Romania it will be celebrated this year NEXT Sunday. I have done a lot of research over the years as to why there is a difference. It is actually interesting, and also the difference in traditions is interesting!
The simple answer is the early church fathers wished to keep the observance of Easter in correlation to the Jewish Passover. and they based their dates on different calendars. The Western church celebrates Easter after the Paschal full moon, based on the Gregorian Calendar. The Eastern Orthodox base theirs on the Julian Calendar and have adhered to the tradition that Easter must always fall after the Jewish Passover, since the resurrection of Christ happened after the celebration of Passover. If you want more information on this here is a good link.
I will just focus on some of my favorite “Easter” memories from Romania instead of stating all the differences. Here spring cleaning happens before Easter so people are busy the week before getting their houses in order.
There are two kinds of eggs that you would traditionally see in Romania, although multi colored eggs and different decorations are finding their way into the culture. One is the wax painted blown eggs whose skill is handed down from generation to generation. They are extremely ornate and have various patterns that represent various things such as the road to redemption. You can also find beaded eggs matching the same style of the wax eggs.
The second are the ones that are done in just about every house, just as we dye our eggs. The process is explained here. It basically is taking a raw egg, wrapping it with a leaf tightly in panty hose and then boiling it with onion peels. This creates the red/reddish brown color that you see on the outside.
On Easter day you “cioc” with the egg. Basically everyone takes an egg, and you say “Christ has risen” and then to crack your egg into another person’s egg who says, “he has risen indeed.” You have 2 chances on each tip, the last egg unbroken is supposed to bring luck.
In the week/month before you will see sheep all over the hills, you also enjoy a large meal with family with many specialties…. and this is the only holiday that I know of that lamb will be served in the meal.
The day after Easter in Transylvania the boys will go around door to door spraying girls with perfume, this is supposed to bring luck… the women typically are supposed to give an egg or special Easter bread in return.
I am sure there are MANY more things that I have missed, but I hope that this gives you a taste of how we celebrate Easter here! 🙂 I certainly don’t mind celebrating the most important day more than one time a year. I should mention that our kids do participate in Easter egg hunts and western egg dying techniques. 😉