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Saturday, March 1, 2008

getting ready for the great fast

March 10 (clean monday) is the first day of lent for the christion east. Last year was special because both the East and West celebrated Easter on the same day.

The east doesn't normally call it by the name "easter". We use the word "Pascha" and it simply means "passover".

Unlike Christmas, christians always celebrated Pascha. The feast day itself goes back all the way to the days of the Apostles. And from the time of Nicea to about the invention of the Gregorian calender all christians both east and west celebrated Pascha, the sunday following the Jewish passover.

And this is why Pascha is always on a different sunday. Well to be honest we celebrate it on Saturday night. The first day begins on saturday when the sun goes pascha morning is really saturday night.

And the fast that preceeds it also goes back to about the 1st and 2nd centuries. At first the 40 day fast was only regional. Some regions only fasted for 40 days while others only on holy week. The 40 day fast became universal centuries later.

We in the east call lent the "great fast". And instead of Ash wednesday we have "clean monday".



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