Easter dates converge for Eastern, Western churches in 2010

On Greek Easter, Jim Pappas plans to serve a whole lamb to some three dozen friends and relatives. But he’ll also be offering honey-baked ham as a nod to his Protestant in-laws.
Western Easter, for the first time in years, coincides with Eastern Orthodox Easter; they have shared a date only three times since 1990 and will again on April 24, 2011. This year’s joint celebration on April 4 has set off a scramble for some families.
“We try to show the non-Greek Orthodox the right way to celebrate Easter, but not everybody is willing to learn,” jokes Mr. Pappas, 52, of Morton Grove.
Jenny Stavropoulos, a 31-year-old financial analyst in Westchester, says her boyfriend, a Protestant, will be away on Easter, visiting his parents. “People in mixed marriages and relationships struggle on days like this,” Ms. Stavropoulos says. “Many try to visit both in-laws’ houses, but that can get complicated.”
At the Greek Islands in Chicago, Orthodox Easter is the biggest event of the year, drawing nearly 2,000 diners beginning with the breaking of the fast after midnight church services. “American” Easter brings some 1,500.
“This year we’ve got to find a way to fit everybody — Greeks and non-Greeks — into our place on the same day. It will be a madhouse here,” says co-owner Gus Koutsogiorgas, 70. “We’re much happier when the holidays are separate.”
Another downside for Orthodox Christians: With their Easter not falling after the American celebration, as it usually does, they won’t be able to buy seasonal candy, dresses or other goodies at a steep post-holiday discount.