Residence: Al Coura, Lebanon
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/16/2020
Primary Language: Arabic
Other Language(s): English, French
The following is a transcribed interview conducted over a video chat between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as WN.
Me: So when do you celebrate Easter?
WN: We celebrate Easter following the Julian Calendar, or the traditional calendar. This means that our Easter is one week after the non-Orthodox Easter, the one popular in America. This year we celebrated April 19th.
Me: And why do you celebrate it one week after?
WN: Oh, because there’s a huge feud of the calendars between the Orthodox Church and the modern church. The argument is that we should be celebrating on the actual day it was supposed to be celebrated on than the day that fits with the Pagan calendar.
Me: What do you mean that the other Easter fits with the Pagan calendar?
WN: Well, once there started getting many popular religions, there was a split between the Roman Catholic church and the Greek Orthodox. The Catholic church altered and adhered to a different calendar while we stuck with the original Julian Calendar.
Me: Ok, cool thank you!
Interviewee was born and raised in a village called Bechmezzine in Al Coura, Lebanon. He is the Uncle of a close friend of mine who was gracious enough to speak with me. He is a fluent English speaker and has spent lots of time in America, as some of his family lives here, but he currently lives in Lebanon. He is a christian and his native language is Arabic.
This interview was conducted on a video call. Because he is my dear friend’s uncle, we had spoken some before this conversation but not often. That being said, the conversation was really casual and he was very willing to share some of his folklore.
This is an example in some of the variations on holidays, especially Christian holidays. Each region celebrates their own versions of holidays – especially religious holidays. The variation is endless and it was nice to hear exactly why Lebanon, in particular, celebrates the Greek Orthodox Easter. While some other countries do, each one has their own reasoning. The reasoning here is clearly that they believe they are being truer to the religion and the purpose of the holidays by honoring Easter, as is customary to determine the Greek Orthodox. So, in short, they are just being extra cautious and traditional when celebrating on this day, despite being not as traditional in many other ways.
For more explanation on why this holiday is on this day, see here: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/orthodox-easter-day