09 Feb Albania Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday Observed in The Country of Albania
Easter in Albania is actually a sort of double set of events because the country marks both the Catholic Easter celebrations and the Orthodox celebrations. As the former uses the Gregorian calendar, their celebrations are about a week prior to the Orthodox celebrations. For example, in 2018, Catholic Easter Sunday falls on April 1, while Orthodox Easter Sunday is one week later on April 8.
Easter Sunday is seen as the day of Christ’s resurrection on the third day after his crucifixion. It is viewed by Catholics and Orthodox Christians alike as the fulfillment of the prophecy that Christ was indeed the Messiah and would die for the sins of humanity only to rise three days later. Early Christians began the resurrection on the Sunday following it, starting around the year 325. Eventually, it was determined appropriate to celebrate Easter on the Sunday following the first full moon after the equinox, and it is still used to determine the date today.
Historically, for roughly half of the twentieth century, celebrating any religious events, including Easter, were seen as criminal acts. Today, that has changed and many heartily celebrate the entire Easter season that begins 40 days earlier with “carnival” like celebrations just before Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. This leads up to the period both groups refer to as Holy Week and which begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter.
For Easter Sunday, many actually begin celebrating the evening before by attending Holy Saturday liturgies. Many remain at the church until midnight and then return home to break their fasts before returning for morning services. It is common for both Orthodox and Catholics to dye eggs, make special bread and enjoy traditional Easter Sunday family dinners that emphasize roasted lamb as the main dish. Both Easter Sundays are noted as national holidays in Albania.