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Easter Recipes :
Tsoureki with Easter Eggs
Mageiritsa Soup

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Holy Good Friday 'Megali Paraskevi' 'Epitaphios' Lamentations
Holy Easter Sunday ' Kyriaki tou Pascha' Celebration

Greek Orthodox Easter & its Customs

Greek Easter does not always fall on the same date as what most countries knows as "Easter" because the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar when calculating Easter.

It is the holiest of Greek holidays, and as in other Christian traditions, it is also a celebration of spring. During Easter in Greece, people leave the cities in droves to spend the holiday in the countryside, usually in their ancestral villages. Santorini is a very popular destination for Greeks to spend a traditional Easter celebration ...

"Christ is Risen " "Yes He is Truly Risen"

The Resurrection ' Megalo Savvato'

On Saturday night 'Megalo Savvato' the service of the Holy Resurrection 'Anastasi' is held. Fourty days of mourning and fasting are over. Bells toll out all over Greece and everywhere you hear the cry ... "Christ is risen!", "Yes He is truly risen!" Fireworks go off, the congregation is smiling and happy, people kiss and hug, and slowly walk home, trying to keep their candles alight until they walk through the front door of their houses. A meal follows with friends and family of Mageiritsa soup.

Holy Easter Sunday ' Kyriaki tou Pascha'

Food, of course, is central to the festivities, but not all Greeks eat the same Easter meal. The traditional Easter table varies regionally, although all over the country it mirrors the same age-old wisdom that nothing should be wasted.

Regional Greek Easter dishes include fresh herbs and tender young greens, dill, wild fennel, lemon balm, lettuce, sorrel and spinach. Lamb on the mainland and goat is preferred on the islands. They are slow roasted on the spit or buried in the ground with charcoals.

One of the traditions of Greek Easter is to dye hard-boiled eggs red to signify the blood of Christ. At Easter time, friends and family crack their egg against each others, to see whose egg will survive uncracked. This continues around the table and the person with the uncracked egg enjoys good luck.

Lighting rhe Candle at Resurrection

Epiphania Agia Theofania : January 6th

On the stroke of January 6th, the "twelve days" of Christmas officially come to an end. This day, takes on a special meaning in Greece. Here, there is a special ceremony of blessing the waters and of the vessels that sail upon them.

The modern observance at Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens, takes the form of a priest hurling a large crucifix into the waters. Young men brave the cold and compete to retrieve it. These days, the cross is generally attached to a nice, safe long chain, just in case that year's crop of divers is something less than desired. After the diving, local fishermen bring their boats to be blessed by the priest.

What does all this have to do with Christmas? Orthodox belief says that it was the day of the baptism of Jesus, and that this is where the day's association with water arises.

But the observance itself may pre-date Christianity. There was, in Roman times, what was said to be a ceremony that opened the season of navigation. However, as any Greek fisherman can tell you, whatever the date of the opening of the season of navigation really is, it definitely is not January 6th, when weather can be stormy and the waters are at their coldest.

The day is also said to be the date of a festival of emperor-worship, also dating from Roman times. Possibly that, with attendant offerings for the emperor, is the root of this ceremony. Or it may also reflect a survival of the custom of giving precious offerings to sea, river, and spring spirits to assure their benevolence or halt their interference. On Epiphany, the kallinkantzari, the malicious spirits who are said to be active during the twelve days of Christmas, are believed to be banished for the rest of the year.

Epiphany is also called the Phota or Fota, in reference to the day being a Feast of Light, and it is also the saint's day for Agia Theofania. While the biggest observance is at Piraeus, many islands and villages also celebrate in a smaller way. Epiphania is a public holiday all over Greece.

The Baptism of Jesus Christ

Diving in the Waters for the Cross


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