Easter in Greece

Easter in Greece is not just religious, but it is a community event as well. Full of a lot of tradition. So the Greek Ester follows the orthodox calendar So Good Friday was April 6th, 2018 and Easter Sunday was April 8th, 2018.

For good Friday at sundown they have wake for Jesus with an symbolic alter. We went to a small village church in Lagonisi. It was very pretty.

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After the walk the priest gave a sermon not just in Greek but in ancient Greek which along with ancient Hebrew is what the bible is originally written in. The Church was overflowing so he stood outside in a packed courtyard saying his sermon. It was very pretty.  It is also interesting to note that most Greeks do not speak ancient Greek however they can recite portions of the sermon in ancient Greek and do understand potions of it. They also understand what is happening in the biblical story because the Greek Schools have religion class.  These classes includes a lot of the history of Greece because religion is so intertwine with the culture here.

Greek orthodox has this thing called the Holy Fire or Light of Christ, which arrives on Easter Saturday.  “Where an Orthodox Archbishop, enters the Holy Sepulcher in the church of Resurrection, in Jerusalem recites special prayers and remains waiting. Sometimes the waiting is long, sometimes short. The crowd, in the darkened church, repeats continually with a loud voice: “Lord, have mercy” (Kyrie eleison). At a certain moment the Holy Fire flashes from the depth of the Holy Sepulchre in a supernatural way, miraculously, and lights up the little lamp of olive oil put on the edge of it. The Patriarch (or the Archbishop), after having read some prayers, lights up the two clusters of 33 candles he is holding, and begins to distribute the Holy Fire to the multitude of pilgrims, who receive it with great emotion, accompanied with the pealing of bells, acclamations, and an unbridled enthusiasm.”  This fire is then flown in from Jerusalem to Athens and spread threw Greece via lighting and passing of candles.  It is interesting all the traditions in the Greek Church.

On Saturday Greece does dye eggs however they are not like the american Easter eggs which are painted pretty colors. They are symbolically dyed to represent the blood of Christ, with further symbolism being found in the hard shell of the egg symbolizing the sealed Tomb of Christ and later after midnight mass the cracking of the eggs or (egg fights) which symbolized Christ resurrection from the dead. We also dyed ours green I have no idea why green.

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On Saturday at midnight we went to our local church in Kalivia. We got their early so that we could get a spot inside. People bring candles so that we can take the Holy light home with us to bless our house.

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Greek Orthodox churches are painted inside beautifully with a lot of symbolism. You go inside and its all dark and the priest is reading the resurrection story once again in ancient Greek. When he takes out the holy flame it is passed from him to the people and then the whole church is illuminated.

Then everyone follows the priest outside and passes the flame from person to person until everyone has a light.

They finish the sermon outside. Then at midnight fireworks go off. Then you go home and people break their 45 day fast. Which Greece as a whole generally fasts. I did not. With a light dinner or soup. Then after dinner it is time for Egg Fights which are when you crack your egg against another persons egg and the person with the strongest egg wins.

I won the Egg Fights.

On Sunday you can also go to church. But the Greeks typically prepare a huge feast with all the things they haven’t eaten in 45 days.  My MIL cooked, it was yummy.

 

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