Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter Sunday
Orthodox Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday.
While the majority of Christians celebrated Easter on March 27 based on the Gregorian calendar, for Orthodox followers who use the Julian calendar the date fell six weeks later this year.
Orthodox Easter also commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and shares similarities with Western Christian celebrations.
Unique traditions from colorful eggs to palm fronds mark the holiday, which some refer to as Pascha from the Greek transliteration.
The large celebrations and prayers take place across Orthodox churches after the end of Lent to mark the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven.
There are approximately 200 million to 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world, with large followings in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Thousands of people visit Jerusalem every year to take part in Holy Week ceremonies and processions from Palm Sunday until Easter. It is traditional for palm fronds or willow branches to be given out and blessed at church services on Palm Sunday.
In 2017, the Gregorian and Julian calendars align and Easter will fall on April 16 for both Orthodox and Western Christian churches.