Easter in Greece

Upravené: sobota, 22. október 2011

Easter is considered the biggest holiday in Greece, the preparation for which begins 40 days earlier at the beginning of Lent. Lent is the time of fasting and praying in spiritual and physical preparation for the celebration of Easter, or “Pascha”, when Christ, the perfect paschal Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of many.  baklava - traditional easter cake.jpg

Many Greeks observe the 40 day fast by abstaining from meat and other animal products. The week before Easter, or Holy Week calls for the culmination of this spiritual and physical preparation in the church with various traditional hymns and psalms put to music in the Byzantine tradition.  Holy Week ends with the celebration of the resurrection at midnight before Easter Sunday, where the faithful gather to sing the tradition hymn, “Christ is Risen”.


Easter, like most Greek holidays, involves the homecoming back to the villages to reunite with family and friends.  Again, most of the social activities revolve around the dinner table.  The first item on the menu is, of course, roast lamb. Many Greeks roast lamb whole on a spit. Some people prefer to roast it in a pan in outdoor clay ovens, which makes the meat very tender and moist. This is accompanied by many types of salads and side dishes, according to the availability of natural ingredients in any given area.  Spanakopita and tyropita are a must.  Kourambiethes and baklava are among many ofthe traditional sweets enjoyed at Easter.

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 Greeks usually color eggs on Holy Thursday.  Traditionally, eggs are colored red to represent the blood of Christ, but younger Greeks have given into some commercial egg coloring available on the market which has a variety of colors.  Some particularly creative traditions involve applying a parsley leaf to the egg before it is died in order to leave a beautiful white leaf-shaped stamp on the egg.  Many Greeks display these in their homes for 40 days after Easter, until the feast day of the Ascension.  On Easter Sunday, Greeks crack the eggs with others in order to proclaim “Christ is Risen”. The cracked egg represents the open tomb of Christ.  greek_easter_cracking_eggs_on_easter_sunday.jpg