For those wondering if Greek Passover and Western Passover are celebrated on the same day, the answer is sometimes. Before planning your trip to Greece, check the dates until 2023.
How is the Greek Passover calculated?
The day is governed by these three main conditions:
- It must be based on the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar;
- It must be after the Jewish holiday of Passover;
- It should be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, which for this purpose is set on March 21, but which can occur on March 20 or 22.
For an intense discussion of calculating Passover in general, with a short section on the special difficulties of calculating Greek Passover, see the Claus Tondering Calendar FAQ.
The short answer: Why are western and eastern Easter different?
The basic reason for the difference between the two Passovers is that “Western” Passover uses a different set of calculations based on the current Gregorian calendar created by Pope Gregory rather than the ancient Julian, first used under the Roman Emperor. Julian. According to the Gregorian system, Easter can be in March, something that will not happen with the Julian-based method of calculating Easter.
Are you traveling in Greece during Easter? Be careful
When hearing about “Easter Specials” in Greece, be careful. Some islands with a partially Catholic population and many hotels will offer special offers on both dates, so make sure it is the one you want at the time of your visit. Go to the actual dates instead of saying something like “I’ll be there on Easter weekend!” Greeks will generally assume that you mean Greek Easter, but many foreign travel agents may assume that you mean Western Easter. And then of course there are some years when they really are the same, confusing things even more thoroughly.
Did you miss Easter? May arrive in time for Pentecost
If you missed Easter in Greece, the Pentecost celebration offers some enjoyable events and ceremonies at a more tourist-friendly time of year. There will be church ceremonies and on many islands and in small towns, open parties with meals and special celebrations. The Greek island of Milos is noted for its Pentecost celebrations, and some Greek travel agents organize special trips to the island at this time of year. As with many Greek religious events, the night before is the most vivid for the visitor.
But all the Greek Orthodox churches will mark the day in some way.