GREEK ORTHODOX EASTER
This week (18-24of April 2011 ) is the so called Megali Evdomada, Great Week,
which is Easter Week for all
Greek Orthodox people. Anyone that has spent this week in Greece will have
noticed that it is the most important
of the year. This year the Good Friday is on the 25th of April and the
Easter Sunday on the 27th of April 2008.
Many Orthodox fast before Easter, and are not allowed to eat various foods
such as meat, butter, milk as well as olive oil for the last few days. Then they
will go to a priest for confession, and are so allowed to partake in the Holy
The actual Easter festival begins on Good Friday and people go to the
churches to see how the priests and monk's take down the icon of Christ off the
cross, wrap it in linen and put it in a great casket covered in flowers
symbolizing the tomb of Christ. Then the bier is taken through the town or
village, with people lamenting the death of Christ.
On Saturday everyone goes to church late in the evening, carrying with
them unlit candles. At midnight the priest announces the resurrection of Christ
("Christos anesti") and lets the people light their candles of the Holy Flame
taken from Christ's nativity cave in Jerusalem. As everybody does this fireworks
and crackers go off and the dark night is filled with light from the candles.
After this, everybody goes home for a meal - the fast is over. If their candles
are still burning, a cross is made in the doorway with the soot, to protect the
house for the coming year.
On Easter Sunday friends and family gather in homes, eating lamb on the
spit and dyed eggs. Before the red eggs are eaten, however, you must crack them
against your neighbours, and whoever wins by having a whole egg at the end, will
get all the luck.
Many places in Greece celebrate Easter in their own way. A few examples:
the patron saint
celebrated. His body, that has not decomposed, is carried around and is believed
to perform miracles. On Easter Saturday ceramic pots are thrown out of people's
windows to throw away Evil.
children act as Jesus' disciples and perform the Last Supper, the walk of
Golgota and and Crucifixion.
twelve monks act as the apostles, and the Father Superior clean their feet
in the square on Easter Thursday.
Crete, as well as in any places around Greece, a doll is made of old
clothes from each house hold and burned symbolizing the burning of Judas.
In Thrace and Macedonia young women in traditional clothing called the
Lazarins go around the villages singing traditional Easter songs.