Orthodox Easter on May the 1st, this year further away than the Catholic, is approaching and we would like to give you another update on Greek customs and traditions.
The Easter celebrations last a week (‘big week’). In the evening of Good Friday throughout the country beautiful and touching Epitaph processions are held.
The following day, the Resurrection celebrations start. Hundreds of people, carrying unlit candles, will gather around the church starting from Saturday evening in anticipation of the Easter service, which begins late at night.
At midnight the priest announces that Christ has risen and appears with a candle lit by the Holy Light which he passes on. Candles are lit one from the other and wishes are said. Greek greeting is “Christos Anesti!” and the response “Alithos Anesti!” while the English greeting is “Christ is Risen!” and the response “He is Truly Risen!”
After the church people are gathering home for the traditional feast of red Easter eggs and the famous “magiritsa” soup made of lamb innards. That night and for the days to come, during lunch or dinner, Greeks cruch red eggs as an escorting delice where they use the wishes of “Christos Anesti!” and “Alithos Anesti!” as response. This is particularly the happy hour of the children during Easter period.
Easter Sunday is a holiday for visiting friends and relatives and eating and drinking together. Lambs are roasted on the fire (a ritual that involves hours of manually turning the spit), houses are open to every guest and the atmosphere is friendly.
The best solution to experience some of these customs and traditions is to visit an island or a village in the mountains or anywhere in the country and spend Easter.
Additional note on office closure
As this year Easter coincides with the Greek Labor day celebrating on May the 1st each year, with a government’s official announcement this holiday has been transfered for May the 3rd. During this day all public and the majority of private sector will remain closed.