Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter in Jordan

Easter is a national holiday in Jordan – but it hasn’t always been so. Years ago the government excused Christians from coming to work on Sunday mornings, allowing them to attend church services if they wished. On the days of Christmas and Easter Arab Christians could have the entire day as a holiday. This set a precedence that was easy to abuse since the majority of Arab Christians in Jordan are either Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic. According to the Roman and Greek Church calendars Christmas is on December 25th and January 7th respectively. Easter also falls on different dates three out of every four years. Then there is a substantial Armenian population who has Christmas on January 19th. So a Jordanian Christian could have three Christmases and two Easters every year and no one would be the wiser!

This might still be situation, but the government decided to organize the Christians officially. Of course they didn’t do this alone; the Church fathers were very much involved. In the Arabic language Easter is called ‘The Big Feast’ leaving Christmas as the little one. I think that possibly there are more Greek Orthodox Christians than Roman Catholic, so the orthodox were able to designate the ‘big feast’ according to their calendar. By default, Christmas is December 25th. This coming Sunday, April 23rd, is Easter and a Jordanian holiday for all; schools, offices, and all government agencies will be closed. The same applies on December 25th. Christians are a tiny minority in Jordan, somewhere between 3-6% of the population. The fact that their religious holidays are official is exceptional and truly remarkable.


Anonymous tetamalu said...

Congratulations ladies, very nice blog site. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006  
Blogger salam said...

Indeed,I think of this as a major breakthrough.Having both our eids considered public holidays was undreamed of a few years back.However,my boss isn't very pleased with this arrangement!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006  
Anonymous Jeries A. Rihani said...

Thank you for drawing my attention to your very interesting blog about Jordan and your rare and valuable experiences in this beloved country we share together. Your blog has become one of my favorites and I shall refere to it much often. I know it shall be a great learning experience for me and I promise you I shall not spare any questions or comments that I may develop in the future. I wish you and the other five honorable ladies all the success.

Jeries A. Rihani

Wednesday, April 19, 2006  
Blogger staghounds said...


Thank you for starting this blog. I've been there to visit a relation who lives in Jordan. It's an interesting and lovely place.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006  
Anonymous Shereen Sawalha said...

wow thats awesome! i didnt know that there were only 3-6% of christains in Jordan.

p.s- I love you grama!!
tell Jido i say hi!


Sunday, April 23, 2006  

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