Millions of people worldwide are celebrating the main Christian holiday, Easter Sunday.
This year the Orthodox Christian Church and the Catholic Church are celebrating Easter on the same day. The next time when the two Churches share Easter celebrations will not occur until 2025.
Under the Orthodox tradition, the Easter Sunday completes the 48-day Great Lent, the period of spiritual preparations during which believers refrain from all animal products and bad habits. It is the time of prayer, confession, spiritual growth and almsgiving.
During the Easter and the 40 days that follow, Orthodox believers greet each other with a special greeting. Instead of “hello” or its equivalent, one is to greet another person with “Christ is Risen!”, and the response is “Indeed, He is Risen,” followed by the exchange of a triple kiss on the alternating cheeks.
In line with a popular tradition, families often visit graves of their deceased relatives during the holiday. This tradition is not approved of by the official Orthodox Church, which has special days for commemoration of the deceased in its calendar.