Easter in Greece..
Easter is a religious holiday and is celebrated all over the mainland and on the islands.
It is a holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth three days after he died
from crucifixion by the Roman magistrate Pontius Pilate. Easter Sunday is the culmination of
the week-long events that preceded his death, reenacted every year in liturgical ceremonies
known as Easter Week.
The seven days prior to the arrival of Easter are known as Holy Week in which different
types of celebrations are made by the natives of the areas.
The Holy Week, including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are all public
holidays in Greece. Families and friends get together and enjoy these festivities. There are
many wonderful food traditions that Greeks follow around Easter time.
The preparations for the Greek Easter actually start from the “Kathara Deftera” - Clean
Monday. All Greeks celebrate the national holiday “Kathara Devtera” that is the last day of
carnival and the first day of the lent period (40 days).
From Kathara Deftera onward till the Easter people might greet between them with -kali
sarrakosti- it is the fasting period.
Greek Easter is full of very special and holy moments. During the evenings of the Holy week,
you can hear the church services every day.
The seven days prior to the arrival of Easter are known as Holy Week during which different
types of celebrations are made by the natives.
Good Monday: On Monday all people go to the market to buy the ingredients that will be
used to make the arrangements for celebrating days of the big week.
Good Tuesday: On the afternoon of Holy Tuesday people go to the city churches in order to
pray and listen to the story of Mary Magdalene.
Good Wednesday: During the afternoon of the Good Wednesday the natives participate in
the process of the Holy Unction.
Good Thursday: The arrival of Good Thursday means that now the day has come to dye all
the Easter eggs red in order to symbolize the rebirth of nature and life.
Good Friday: The candlelit funeral procession takes place in every church in the afternoon.
There is a somber atmosphere and the church´s bells ring, flags fly and in some villages a
shrine representing the tomb of Jesus is carried in the streets.
The funereal bells are played to awake the people and the ecclesiastical ceremonies are
organized to commemorate the activity of removing the Christ from the Cross. The Epitaphs
are decorated by young girls. This activity begins in the afternoon followed by the music
played by the choruses and local bands. Finally, around 10.00 p.m, the last Epitaph which is
well-decorated makes his appearance in front of the crowd.
Holy Saturday: The resurrection of Christ, called the Anastasi, is celebrated.
Around 6.00 a.m. all people unite in the church to recreate a situation of an earthquake that
happened at the time of Christ’s Resurrection. The majority of the people go to church
around 23.30 p.m. At midnight, the priest chants the Christos Anesti hymn and the first
candles are lit from the holy flame from Jerusalem.
The announcement regarding the first resurrection is made around 24:00 which is followed
by the phrase “Christós Anésti” uttered by the people telling each other that the Christ has
woken-up. This is responded by the phrase “Alithós Anésti” confirming the re-born of Christ.
After this, the final celebrations begin in the form of “Christós Anésti” followed by the huge
sound of bells and sounds of the bands moving across the streets.
As fireworks light up the sky, the holy flame is passed through the crowd, as one candle
lights the next one. Immediately after the Anastasi, people go home or to a tavern in order
to enjoy the family dinner with the traditional soup called magiritsa. This is the end of the 40
days of fasting. Also, when people leave the church they all hold a candle with the Holy Light
and everyone must be careful so the candle does not burn them, their clothes or someone
Easter Sunday: During Easter Sunday family and friends get all together and eat Greek lamb
(which is cooked for hours) , goat, the known kokoretsi ( lamb organs tightly tied around a
rotisserie spit with intestine, and roasted). They drink wine, then eat tsoureki or mageritsa
from last night and crack the red eggs.
There are many options for eating out during these days both for magiritsa soup after the
midnight Anastasi service, and for Sunday lunch. If you plan to come in Greece, make
reservations at one of the hotels´ restaurants or a traditional tavern. If you want to try
magiritsa in particular ask us and we will recommend you the best place for it.
The days of Easter in Greece are a special experience. If you wish, we of ST TRANSFERS team we can suggest you a
wonderful villa with the most beautiful view of the Aegean Sea in Mykonos. You can have
your personal guide who will transport you safely to every night out, your personal cook for
the traditional Easter recipes or if you want, we can suggest you the best restaurant or
Moreover, if you want to experience the Holy days of Easter in Thessaloniki, we will provide
you with the services of a personal guide and we can suggest you the best hotel, apartment
or villa according to your needs. You will have a great time and enjoy every moment.
If you wish to experience Easter traditionally in beautiful Greece, all you have to do is send us our request with a message:
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