Calendar

Apr
11
Thu
Barbershop Quartet Day
Apr 11 all-day

April 11 is Barbershop Quartet Day, a day that celebrates barbershop music, a style of harmony singing without any accompanying music.

Barbershop Quartet Day Fun Church Barbershop quartets started in the barber shop. ©iStockphoto.com/radrev

Barbershop quartets started in the barber shop.

The unofficial holiday commemorates the founding of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America in 1938.

Waiting Songs

As the name suggests, barbershop music originated in 19th century American barbershops, a place where men, usually African American, came to socialize. While waiting for their turn with the barber, these men sang, harmonized improvised songs and created a genre of music that is now known as barbershop music.

Straw Hats

A barbershop quartet is a group of 4 men, each with their own unique voices – second tenor, first tenor, bass and baritone – singing songs in the barbershop style.

Barbershop quartets have a signature dressing style that includes bright striped jackets, straw hats and big moustaches.

How to Celebrate?

  • Celebrate the day by getting acquainted with Barbershop music and its history.
  • Attend a barbershop quartet show and enjoy their music.

Did You Know…

…that barbershop music is a type of a capella? A capella is a style of singing without any accompanying instrumental music. The word comes from the Italian word for according to the church.

Apr
12
Fri
Grilled Cheese Day
Apr 12 all-day

April 12 is Grilled Cheese Day, a day to celebrate this hearty bread and cheese dish and to make every meal out of it.

Slice up bread, add cheese in between and grill up a delicious grilled cheese. ©iStockphoto.com/juliedeshaies

Slice up bread, add cheese in between and grill up a delicious grilled cheese.

A grilled cheese consists of grilling or toasting a slice of cheese between two slices of bread.

Comfort Meal

Enjoyed today by people around the world as an after school or as a comfort meal, the modern version of a grilled cheese is believed to have originated in the United States during the 1920s when sliced bread and cheese became easily available.

The cheese usually used in grilled cheese is American cheese which is a processed cheese product that has a very low melting point. Hot tomato soup, potato chips and pickles are common accompaniments of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Cheese Toastie

The British version of a grilled cheese is called a cheese toastie. The cheese of choice for a toastie is cheddar cheese.

The unofficial holiday of unknown origins is also sometimes known as National Grilled Cheese Day.

How to Celebrate?

  • Make grilled cheese for all your meals. Have an egg and bacon grilled cheese for breakfast, a tomato and mozarella grilled cheese for lunch and a traditional grilled cheese for dinner.
  • Who says grilled cheese has to be savory? Make a dessert grilled cheese with fruit and brie or cream cheese and chocolate spread.
  • Gourmet up your grilled cheese by adding gourmet ingredients to it. What about adding some bacon in to the mix or some arugula and roasted beets for the vegetarians? Substitute tomato soup with sweet potato soup or pumpkin soup.

Did You Know…

…that mozzarella is the most consumed cheese in the world?

Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Apr 12 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Apr
13
Sat
Scrabble Day
Apr 13 all-day

April 13 is Scrabble Day, a day to celebrate the popular word board game created in 1938 by American architect Alfred Mosher Butts.

Scrabble Day Fun Church Challenge your family and friends to a battle of words on Scrabble Day. ©iStockphoto.com/miketea

Challenge your family and friends to a battle of words on Scrabble Day.

Scrabble is a board word game where 2 to 4 players place tiles each having an alphabet on a board such that the tiles form a word.

29 Languages

First marketed in the United States as Lixiko and Criss-Crosswords, the game is now so popular that it is sold around the word in 29 different languages!

The term, scrabble comes from the Dutch word, schrabbelen, meaning to struggle and scramble.

How to Celebrate?

  • Gather around with your family and friends and play scrabble.
  • Throw a scrabble themed party. Play a game of scrabble or two. Whoever wins takes home a thesaurus or a dictionary!
  • Like baking? Whip up a batch of scrabble tile cookies to serve at your scrabble party.
  • Have some extra scrabble tiles lying around? Use them to make some scrabble jewelry for the scrabble lovers in your life.
  • Don’t have time to play a real game of scrabble? Download one of the many scrabble word game apps out there and play while you are out and about. Just remember not to play when driving or operating heavy and dangerous machinery or when in a meeting!

Did You Know…

…that if you played the word Oxyphenbutazone in your next game of scrabble, you will make 1458 points as calculated by a Dan Stock of Ohio? Oxyphenbutazone is a medication used to treat arthritis and is the highest scoring single play word in scrabble.

Apr
14
Sun
International Moment of Laughter Day
Apr 14 all-day

On April 14, stop, smell the roses and laugh a little (or a lot), because it is International Moment of Laughter Day.

International Moment Laughter Day Fun Church Do something that makes you laugh. ©iStockphoto.com/Studio1One

Do something that makes you laugh.

The unofficial holiday, created by humorologist Izzy Gesell, encourages people to forget the stresses of daily life and give into the healing and relaxing power of laughter.

Reduces Stress

Medical studies have shown that laughing reduces stress, increases blood flow and lowers blood sugar levels. Some studies have found that people who laugh just before going to bed are much more likely to sleep better than those who did not.

Spreads Happiness

In addition to its health benefits, laughter also has social advantages. People who are jovial tend to be quickly accepted in social groups and have an easier time making friends. Laughter is a way to spread joy and happiness and bring cheer in the lives of other people.

How to Celebrate?

  • Take a moment in the day to read or watch something that would make you laugh.
  • Go with family and friends to watch a comedy show or comedy movie.
  • Collect jokes and share them with colleagues, friends and family.

Did You Know…

…that human laughter has a specific acoustic structure? Laughter can have a ha-ha-ha or ho-ho-ho structure, but it is humanly impossible to have a ha-ho-ha-ho structure to laughter.

The Lord’s Day
Apr 14 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Apr
18
Thu
Columnist Day
Apr 18 – Apr 19 all-day

April 18 is celebrated annually as Columnists Day to commemorate the life and work of columnist, Ernest Taylor Pyle.

Columnist Day Fun Church Columnists inform and create opinions. ©iStockphoto.com/Goodluz

Columnists inform and create opinions.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists created this holiday on the death anniversary of Ernie Pyle.

Died on the Job

Pyle, also known as Ernie, was a Pulitzer Prize winner who reported from both the European and Pacific theaters during the Second World War. He died while reporting in Okinawa.

Dangerous Situations

The purpose of the unofficial holiday is to appreciate the work that journalists do to inform people, create public opinion, keep people in power accountable and to bring to light important stories. The day is especially dedicated to columnists and journalists around the world who work in dangerous situations with the sole aim of uncovering the truth for the benefit of the society.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists was founded in 1977 as a professional organization for columnists and journalists.

How to Celebrate?

You don’t need a lot of preparation to celebrate Columnists Day. Here are some ways you can show your appreciation for all those who bring news and opinion to you and keep you well informed about the world around you:

  • Read a newspaper column.
  • Write to your favorite newspaper columnist and thank them. If you know a columnist personally, celebrate them by doing something special for them, like baking them their favorite cake or taking them out for dinner.
  • Learn more about the history of newspapers and journalism.

Did You Know…

…that the Ordinari Post Tijdender, a Swedish newspaper is the oldest newspaper in the world that is still being published? The newspaper was first published in 1645. Its print version was stopped in 2007. Since then the newspaper is online only.

Apr
19
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Apr 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Apr
20
Sat
Look Alike Day
Apr 20 all-day

If you have ever been told that you look familiar or look like someone else, then Look Alike Day on April 20 is the holiday you should be celebrating.

Look Alike Day Fun Church Celebrate people who look like you. ©iStockphoto.com/_jure

Celebrate people who look like you.

Look Alike Day is a fun holiday invented to celebrate identical twins, clones, copycats and anyone else who you look like or who looks like you.

Dress Alike

The unofficial holiday with unknown origins encourages people to dress up and look like someone else. This person could be someone you look up to or a celebrity you are a fan of.

How to Celebrate?

  • If you know your look alike, spend the day with them. Dress up identically and copy each other’s mannerisms, and have fun with people struggling to tell you apart!
  • Find out what celebrity looks like you. Dress up like them, talk like them and walk like them. If it is a singer you look alike sing their songs the whole day long. If it is a author, then read out lines from their books every time you speak with someone.
  • If you are on social media websites change out your display picture and replace it with your look alike’s. Make sure you take permission from the owner of the picture before you do so.

Did You Know…

…that it is said that there are at least 7 people in the world who look like you?

Apr
21
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Apr 21 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Apr
22
Mon
Jelly Bean Day
Apr 22 – Apr 23 all-day

April 22 is Jelly Bean Day. It is an unofficial holiday that honors the sugary bean-shaped candies that are hard on the outside and gel-like on the inside.

Jelly Bean Day Fun Church Celebrate the chewy, sugary and delicious delights that are jelly beans. ©iStockphoto.com/kcrep

Celebrate the chewy, sugary and delicious delights that are jelly beans.

Popular during Easter and Halloween, jelly bean candies come in a variety of flavors and colors.

Cherry and Popcorn

According to Jelly Belly, a popular jelly bean manufacturer, the most popular jelly bean flavors include cherry and buttered popcorn.

Food historians believe that turkish delights, a chewy candy from Turkey inspired the creation of the jelly beans, though it is unclear who invented them.

Presidental Favourite

Some sources suggest that jelly beans were popularized during the American Civil War when people were encouraged to send the candy to soldiers in the field.

Jelly beans are equally loved by children and adults alike. President Ronald Reagan was known to be a big fan of these delicious chewy candy, so much so that about 3 tonnes of red, white and blue jelly beans were used during his inauguration as the 40th President of the United States in 1981. It is said that his favorite flavor was licorice.

How to Celebrate?

  • Have jelly beans with all your meals.
  • What about trying bacon flavored jelly beans for breakfast?
  • Been told that you don’t eat enough fruits? Eat a handful of fruit flavored jellybeans.
  • Make art using colorful jellybeans.

Did You Know…

…that it can take anywhere from 7 to 21 days to make a single piece of jelly beans?

Apr
23
Tue
Lover’s Day
Apr 23 all-day

April 23 is Lover’s Day, a day to celebrate your significant other and let them know how much they mean to you.

Lovers Day Fun Church Celebrate your lover today. ©iStockphoto.com/mrovka

Celebrate your lover today.

While the origin of Lover’s Day is a mystery, some sources believe that the unofficial holiday is based on St. George’s Day, a religious holiday celebrated in many parts of Europe.

Other Versions

Some countries have their own versions of Lover’s Day. Brazilians for example, celebrate Lover’s Day, also called Dia dos Namorados, on June 12.

Lover’s Day is also known as National Lover’s Day in the US.

How to Celebrate?

Missed Valentine’s Day? No worries. Now, you have a chance at a do-over. Here are some ideas on how you can make your lover feel special on Lover’s Day:

  • Do something thoughtful and special for your loved one. Maybe do their errands for them or make their favorite dish for dinner.
  • Since Lover’s Day has not yet been taken over by commercial interests, you can celebrate it in your own style without the pressures of having to go all out. For example, make them a handmade gift, clean up their closet, watch that movie you hate but they love, write a poem, take them out dancing, go to the carnival, throw a party in their honor, surprise them with a weekend getaway.
  • It is still spring in the Northern Hemisphere, so what about surprising your loved one with a spring picnic? Pack some bubbly, some of his or her favorite candy and let the romance bloom!
  • If you are planning on getting married soon, choose April 23 as your wedding date. It certainly less clichéd and common.

Did You Know…

…that in some countries women can propose marriage to their significant others only on a Leap Day?

St. George’s Day in Canada
Apr 23 all-day

 St George’s Day commemorates the life of St George, a Roman soldier and Christian martyr. St George’s Day is a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. It is observed on the Monday closest to April 23 each year.

St George is remembered on St George's Day in Canada. ©iStockphoto.com/bogdb

St George is remembered on St George’s Day in Canada.

What Do People Do?

Many people are reminded on this day of St George’s achievements and sacrifices during his lifetime. People who have a day off work on St George’s Day enjoy it as is part of a three-day long weekend in Newfoundland and Labrador, as the day is held on a Monday. Some people take a scenic drive, while others engage in sporting activities. Many people in the province who have a day off spend time on personal hobbies and some people catch up with friends and family.

St George’s Day celebrations are not limited to Newfoundland and Labrador. Some societies, such as the Royal Society of St. George (British Columbia Branch), celebrate St George’s Day. There are also calls from groups devoted to the saint to make St George’s Day a national holiday in Canada.

Public Life

St George’s Day is a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, so it is designated as a paid holiday for government employees. School calendars in the province are set by individual school districts so those wishing to find out if St George’s Day is a school holiday should check with these districts.

Background

St George was born sometime around the year 280 CE in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303 CE, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.

St George is most widely known for slaying a dragon. According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene was guarded by a dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots. On the day that St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity.

It is thought that the dragon represents a certain type of pagan belief that included the sacrifice of human beings. St George is the patron saint of some places around the world, including England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, and Russia.

Symbols

The most widely recognized St George’s Day symbol is St George’s cross. This is a red cross on a white background, which is often displayed as a flag. It is used as England’s national flag, forming part of the Union Flag, the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Saint George’s cross was originally the flag of the maritime Republic of Genoa. Around 1190, the King of England started paying the Doge of Genoa to protect ships originally from the city of London and the rest of England that sailed in the Mediterranean region.

Apr
24
Wed
International Guide Dog Day
Apr 24 all-day

Every year, the last Wednesday in April is set as International Guide Dog Day

Guide dogs receive formal training which takes two years and costs around $25,000

Even guide dogs have their ups and downs.

This is a day to celebrate the important role of guide dogs that help the blind and visually impaired remain safe and independently mobile day in and day out. Guide dogs are carefully trained to recognize obstacles, and to help guide their handlers around such things. They are trained to help handler’s access public transportation, navigate public places and cross roads safely.

Guide dogs are legally allowed into all public places due to their handler’s dependence on them for safety and mobility. Due to this fact however, guide dogs must have a special calm, quiet, non-aggressive and well-behaved temperament.

According to GuidedogsofAmerica.org the breeds most commonly used as guide dogs are as follows:

  • 70% Labrador Retrievers
  • 15% Golden Retrievers
  • 15% German Shepherds

After two year’s of training dogs, are carefully matched with handlers based on the handler’s lifestyle and environment. Consideration is also given to the size of the dog, the strength, pace of walk and energy levels. Each of these things is taken into consideration so to match dogs and humans to create the best relationship possible.

International Guide Dog Day is intended to honor the dogs that are working hard to help their handlers as well as all the people who work very hard to train and match dogs with their owners, creating such important life-changing relationships.

How to Celebrate?

  • Adopt a dog and give it a loving home.
  • If you have a dog, treat them with their favorite treats.
  • If you are unable to have a dog in your family, celebrate the day by donating your time and money to the local animal and dog shelter.

    Did You Know…

    …Guide dogs receive formal training which takes two years and costs around $25,000?

Apr
25
Thu
DNA Day
Apr 25 all-day

Observed every year on April 25 since 2003, DNA Day celebrates and recognizes the importance of genetics and the scientific advances made in the field.

DNA Day Fun Church Learn more about DNA that makes you. ©iStockphoto.com/Svisio

Learn more about the DNA that makes you.

DNA Day was instituted as a one-time celebration in the United States by a proclamation of the US Congress in 2002.

Double Helix

April 25 was chosen as the day to acknowledge the contribution of genetics. It was on this day in 1953, scientists James Watson, Francis Crick and their colleagues published the double helix structure of DNA in the journal, Nature.

Worldwide Celebration

While DNA Day was first commemorated in the United States in 2003, it is now celebrated around the world. In the US, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is at the helm of organizing celebrations for the day. Universities and scientific organizations around the world also celebrate DNA day by organizing scientific conferences, educational outreach, online discussions and essay competitions.

The holiday is also called International DNA Day and World DNA Day.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend scientific lectures to learn about the advances made in genetics.
  • Learn more about DNA, its structure, and its components. Read up about how it affects our daily lives.
  • If you have kids in your life, make a 3-d model of DNA with them. Get creative, use materials you can find at home or in your kitchen.

Did You Know…

…that each human cell contains approximately 6.5 feet (2 meters) of DNA?

Apr
26
Fri
Pretzel Day
Apr 26 all-day

Celebrate the doughy, salty snack called Pretzel on April 26, Pretzel Day.

Be Humble Day Heritage Church Celebrate the delicious snack that is the pretzel. ©iStockphoto.com/Electra-K-Vasileiadou

Be Humble Day Heritage Church Celebrate the delicious snack that is the pretzel.

Considered to be one of the oldest surviving snacks in the world, the humble but delicious pretzel is thought to have originated in Europe, possibly created by monks in monasteries.

Soft or Hard

The knot shape of the traditional soft dough pretzels are thought to signify folded hands during prayers.

The commonly found hard pretzels are a much more recent invention. They are considered to have been first made by German immigrants in Pennsylvania, United States.

How to Celebrate?

  • Celebrate pretzel day by making your own pretzels at home. Try new flavors of pretzels.
  • If you don’t have time to make your own, visit your local pretzel store. Chances are, they will be celebrating the day by giving away free pretzels.

Did You Know…

…that Pennsylvanians eat more pretzels per capita than people in any other state in the United States? Because of this, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell declared April 26 as National Pretzel Day in 2003.

Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Apr 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Apr
28
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Apr 28 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

May
1
Wed
Macaroon Day
May 1 all-day

May 31 is Macaroon day, a day to celebrate the unleavened cakes or cookies made of egg whites, sugar, and almond paste or coconut.

Macroon-Day-Church Try your hands at baking a batch of delicious macaroon cookies on May 31, Macaroon Day. ©iStockphoto.com/ajafotoTry your hands at baking a batch of delicious macaroon cookies on May 31, Macaroon Day. ©iStockphoto.com/ajafoto

Try your hands at baking a batch of delicious macaroon cookies on May 31, Macaroon Day.

Macaroons are thought to have originated in the 9th century in Italy.

Coconut and Egg Whites

The original macaroon recipe called for egg whites, sugar, and almond paste. In many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, coconut is used as the main ingredient of these delicious cakes, instead of almond paste. They can also be topped with jam, chocolate, or fruits in syrup.

Even though macaroons look like cookies, bakers technically classify them as cakes because they do not contain any flour.

Not a Macaron

Oftentimes, macaroons are confused with with the colorful macaron. While a macaron is made of similar ingredients – almond flour, egg whites and sugar, there is a world of difference in the taste, texture, and presentation of the two treats.

How to Celebrate?

  • Learn how to make macaroons. Whip up a batch and share them with your family and friends.
  • Try different variations of the cake, perhaps by adding fruit or chocolate? Or maybe a spice like cinnamon or cardamom?

Did You Know…

…that the word macaroon comes from the Italian word maccarone, meaning paste?

May
2
Thu
My Bucket’s Got a Hole Day
May 2 all-day

May 30 is My Bucket’s Got A Hole in It Day, a day to carry around a bucket with a hole with you.

My-Buckets-Got-A-Hole-Day-Church Get yourself a bucket and make a hole in it. ©iStockphoto.com/AnitaPatterson

Get yourself a bucket and make a hole in it.

It is unclear if the unofficial holiday was created in honor of the song by the same name made popular by American singer Hank Williams or to celebrate buckets with holes in them. Either way, see below on how to celebrate this offbeat hole-i-day.

How to Celebrate?

  • Listen to the song by the same name.
  • Trick someone by making a hole in their bucket. Ask them to do something silly with the bucket, like fill another bucket or water the lawn.
  • Ask people you meet the answer to the Hole in the Bucket puzzle: I am weightless, but you can see me. Put me in a bucket, and i’ll make it lighter. What am i? A hole.

Did You Know…

…that the children’s song there is a hole in the bucket describes a deadlock situation? To fix a bucket with a hole, the protagonist needs to cut a piece of straw with a knife, which needs to be sharpened on a sharpening stone which needs to be watered with water using the bucket, which has a hole.

Orthodox Easter Monday
May 2 all-day

Many Orthodox churches around the world observe Easter Monday, which is the day after the Orthodox Easter Sunday.

Easter Monday Orthodox Church Painted eggs are an important tradition during the Easter period. ©iStockphoto.com/Bob Drapella

Painted eggs are an important tradition during the Easter period.

What Do People Do?

In countries such as Greece, the Orthodox Easter Monday is a much more relaxed day when people can wind down or prepare to resume their work or study schedules. For some, it is a reflection of the events that occurred during Holy Week. Easter Monday is a day to finish leftover Easter meals that were not eaten the day before. The menu may include: lamb, spanokopita (spinach pie), dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves), and loukoumathes (honey balls).

Easter Monday is also referred to as “Bright Monday” or “New Monday” in many Orthodox churches. “Bright Monday” falls on “Bright Week”, which is a seven-day period that begins on Easter Sunday. For many Orthodox Christians, the fast and the time of mourning is over and it is a time to be joyous and happy.

Public Life

Easter Monday is observed as an official holiday in countries including: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Ukraine. Schools, banks and public offices may be closed on this day. Some embassies are closed in these countries on Easter Monday so travelers will need to confirm with their own embassies.

There are no federal Orthodox Easter public holidays in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, Easter Monday is a time for families and friends of the Orthodox Christian faith to relax and reflect on the past week.

Background

In 325 CE the Council of Nicaea established the Easter date for churches around the world. However, in 1582 the Gregorian calendar was introduced and many western churches decided to observe the Easter period according to that calendar over the centuries. Many Orthodox churches still observe Easter in accordance with the Julian calendar, therefore they often follow a different Easter date compared with many western churches.

In the Orthodox circles, tensions exist between New Calendarists – those who use the revised Julian calendar for calculating the feasts of the ecclesiastical year – and Old Calendarists – those who continue to use the traditional Julian calendar. There have been a number of proposed Easter date reforms. In 1997 the World Council of Churches proposed a reform to solve the Easter date difference between churches that observe the Gregorian calendar and those that observe the Julian calendar. So far, this reform has not been implemented.

Symbols

One of the most common Orthodox Easter symbols is the dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. The egg was an important symbol in the mythologies of many early civilizations and was also connected with the springtime fertility rituals. Many Greek people rap their eggs against their friends’ eggs and the owner of the last uncracked egg is considered lucky. The red eggs are usually prepared on Holy Thursday in countries such as Greece. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary dyed eggs red to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ and to celebrate life.

One of the most common Christian symbols associated with Easter is the lamb. It is often depicted with a banner that bears a cross, and it is known as the Agnus Dei, meaning “Lamb of God” in Latin. The symbol’s origin relates to the Jewish Passover. In ancient times Jewish people sacrificed a lamb in the course of the festival. The early Christians associated the sacrifice of the lamb with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. They connected the joyous Passover festival, which celebrates the liberation of Jewish people from years of bondage in Egypt, with the liberation from death represented by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.