THE MOST UNIQUE ORTHODOX EASTER TRADITIONS
Easter preparations begin on Holy Thursday, that Holy Passion takes place. Every year on this day, Greeks make the Easter brioche, known as Tsoureki. This sweet bread is usually braided with three pieces of dough, which represent the Holy Trinity, and it is served with red boiled eggs in the middle, which represent the rebirth of life and the blood of Christ.
The holiest day of the week is Good Friday, and it is a day of mourning. It is also the only day of the year that the Divine Liturgy is not read. On that day, many devout people refuse to cook. Traditionally, on this day bells ring multiple times throughout the day and people take flowers to the church to decorate the ‘’Epitaph’’ (the symbolic bier of Christ). The Good Friday mass takes place in the evening and is followed by a solemn procession around the block of the church in big cities or around the village in rural areas.
Preparations for the next day’s Easter feast begin in the morning of Holy Saturday. The traditional ‘’magiritsa’’ soup is the main dish on the late-night dinner. In the evening, everyone attends the Resurrection event at their local churches, with a white candle that is only used for this occasion. When the time comes for the representation of the Resurrection of Christ, the priest proclaims “Christos Anesti” (Christ has risen), the bells start ringing and fireworks light up the night sky.
Easter Sunday is the official end of the 40-day fasting period, and it is celebrated with the roast of lambs on a spit. The Easter meal itself is a feast for the eyes and the senses on that day. Appetizers, such as Greek olives and tzatziki are served for guests to enjoy, while waiting for the lamb to be cooked, and dancing to Greek traditional tunes. Also, great Greek wines, ouzo, and other drinks flow freely.