No Longer Greek to Me


I always thought that Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, was a charming woman and a good actress. She met Tom when she played an idealistic Jewish Peace Corps member in the 1985 film, Volunteers. Hanks starred as a WASP playboy who joined the Peace Corps to get out of the country just ahead of some gangsters who wanted to kill him because he could not pay some gambling debts. Of course, the playboy and the Jewish idealist fall in love.

Wilson, who is the daughter of Greek Orthodox immigrants, recently wrote a piece on the joys of Greek Orthodox Easter for the Huffington Post. This year the Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter on April 27.

In her piece, Wilson noted something I was previously unaware of–but makes perfect sense. She says: “Once every few years, Greek Easter falls the same week as ‘American Easter,’ as it was called when I was growing up. In order for ‘Greek Easter’ to be celebrated the same week as ‘American Easter’, Passover has to have been celebrated already. We Greeks don’t do Easter until after Passover, because how can you have Easter before Passover? Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, after all.”

I know this doesn’t have a great deal to do with celebrities–but its interesting to note that the Orthodox churches clearly recognize the relationship of Passover to Easter. By the way, Tom Hanks, who was raised Catholic, became Greek Orthodox when he married Wilson.

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