We all know April 1st as ‘April Fool’s Day’ but in the Eastern Orthodox Church it will be taken more seriously this year, as this is when Lazarus Saturday falls in 2017.
Lazarus of Bethany
Lazarus Saturday celebrates the raising of Lazarus of Bethany from the dead by Jesus Christ. In the Greek Church, it is customary to spend Lazarus Saturday plaiting crosses out of palm leaves which will be used on Palm Sunday, it is also a time when people may also enjoy spice breads called Lazarakia.
Holy Week services
In Russia, hermits would enjoy the chance to be a bit more sociable as they would return to their home monastery for the Holy Week services. Technically, Lazarus Saturday is a fast day, however there are exceptions; caviar can be included in the diet of those fasting as eggs (including fish eggs) are symbolic of resurrection.
Serbian and Bulgarian Orthodox church
In the Serbian and Bulgarian Orthodox church they have a problem, since these events are close to Palm Sunday they would prefer to use palm leaves as part of the celebrations, but palm leaves are rather scarce in these colder climes, so pussy willow branches (sometimes with small bells attached) are blessed and given to the faithful.