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Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Greek | 0 comments

Greek Orthodox Easter: Traditions and Customs in Greece

Greek Orthodox Easter: Traditions and Customs in Greece

Go greece holidays tour to enjoy orthodox easter event holy week with many traditions and rituals.


In Greece, the specific Easter festival begins a few days before Easter. Considered the most crucial holiday around the Greek calendar, the celebration of Orthodox Easter (Pascha, Greek: ??s?a) is different in nearly every corner of Greece. Special traditions mark not only the mourning of Christ’s Crucifixion and the celebration of Resurrection, but also the passage from winter to spring. Since the date of the Greek Orthodox Easter is based on a modified Julian calendar – while the Civilized world uses the Gregorian calendar, the festivities sometimes usually do not usually occur at the same time as other Christian Easter celebrations. Sometimes the dates could be as much being a month apart. In 2014, however, Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated on the same day as Easter observances within the Western church on Sunday, April 20, 2014 – although marked by unique traditions which make Easter in Greece distinct from Easter celebrations in other lands.

Easter Orthodox Week

The week before Easter Sunday, the Holy week, begins on Palm Sunday. There are church services everyday commemorating the final week within the life of Jesus. The evening services would be the most attended, except for Wednesday when the Service of the Holy Unction is held in the afternoon. On Thursday morning the service commemorates the final Supper as well as the Betrayal of Christ. This is actually the day the hard-boiled eggs are dyed red, signifying the blood of Christ, and the Easter bread, called tsoureki, is baked. The evening service on Thursday is a long one featuring twelve gospel readings.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday tradition is the roasting of lamb outside on the spit; friends and family usually gather for a big party with lots of food, wine, music, and dancing.If friends or neighbours are hosting an Easter party outside you’ll likely be hailed for a celebratory drink and ‘meze’ along with them if you happen to go by their house – the more the merrier! In case you are formally invited beforehand it is really not expected which you take anything with you, but taking along ‘glyka’ – cakes or biscuits – will always be appreciated.

Easter Customs

These are customs associated with the religious holiday of Easter the biggest celebration of the Orthodox Christians as well as the one richest in folklore. All over the country an array of customs and traditions are observed throughout the week before and during Easter. There is a festive atmosphere everywhere and people eat and dance usually until late in to the night.

On the island of Patmos the ceremony from the Washing from the Feet happens on Holy Thursday morning. It is founded on the New Testament and can be compared to corresponding Byzantine customs. On the island of Tinos, on Good Friday, Jesus Christ’s Holy Sepulchres (of both Orthodox and Catholic churches) meet at the port of the island. The people in the clergy chant together and the portable Holy Sepulchre of the church of Aghios Nicolaos enters into the sea. In Vrodathos around the island of Chios, when the psalm commemorating the ascension of Christ begins, on Holy Saturday, fireworks illuminate the midnight sky.

On the island of Corfu the patron saint Spyridon is celebrated. His body, which has not decomposed, is carried around and is also believed to perform miracles. On Easter Saturday ceramic pots are dumped of people’s windows to throw away Evil. On the island of Crete, as well as in any places around Greece, a doll consists of old clothes from each house hold and burned symbolizing the burning of Judas.

In Central Greece, in Nafpaktos, on the evening of Good Friday, large crowds of people who accompany the epitaph, pass through the town’s harbour where lighted torches have already been placed for this specific purpose on the fortress surrounding it. In the centre of the entrance to the fortress, the torches form a big cross, which lights in the harbour, making a scene of unforgettable beauty.

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