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Greek Easter


Easter, is without question, the most important celebration in the Greek Orthodox calendar. The Orthodox faith celebrates the 'Resurrection' as the most important event of religious festivities.
Easter starts with Lent, on Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday - 3 March 2014). This was originally the day housewives cleaned all their kitchen utensils, to get rid of all traces of meat. Today, most families travel to the coast or countryside, and picnic on shellfish and salads.It is also traditionally known for kite flying. During the 40 day period, no meat or meat products should be eaten.
As Holy Week approaches, houses are spring cleaned, and painted, special biscuits and breads are baked and stored, and eggs are boiled, and dyed. Churches throughout the country will be full every evening during 'Holy Week' as people follow once more the 'Passion of our Lord'.
Good Friday morning sees children and adults flock to the church to decorate the effigy, with fresh flowers picked that morning from their courtyards and gardens. Later that evening 'Christ's' funeral procession will be enacted, and the beautifully decorated effigy will be carried around every village and town, followed silently by the entire congregation carrying lanterns. Although a solemn occasion, it is beautiful and serene.
Easter Saturday is a very busy day. Easter soup is being prepared for the midnight feast, made with the innards of the lamb or goat which will be spit roasted on Easter Sunday. Tables will be set up with bowls laden with Easter biscuits, baskets full of red dyed eggs, and salads of every kind. Families will make their way towards their local church around 23.00hrs. Everyone dressed in their best, and everyone carrying a candle. The priest will come out of the church and on the stroke of midnight will announce 'CHRISTOS ANESTI' Christ has risen. Bells peel and candles are lit with the eternal flame, eggs are knocked together, with everyone hoping they will be the lucky one whose egg doesn't break. Families and friends make their way home to break their fasting on the feast that was prepared earlier that day.
Easter Sunday sees an early start, with usually the men of the household preparing the lamb or goat for the spit. Every courtyard, street corner, or under a shady tree, sees people taking turns to slowly turn the spit. Music, song and dance fills the air and everyone is welcome. Celebrations in Lindos spill over into the Main Square, in the early evening and go on into the wee small hours.
This is an occasion not to be missed, and is the perfect opportunity to feel part of, and be included in a wonderful Greek experience.
Happy Easter everyone, or as the Greeks say, KALO PASKA...






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