Is Easter tradition still a thing in contemporary Greek families? Or have we forgotten what it is all about?
We often complain that “Easter (or Christmas) has gone by and we didn’t even realize” – but is it that time flies faster or that we tend to dismiss it as just some time to spend in front of our screens (TV or phone)?
It’s true, due to our hectic lifestyles we need longer to unwind and, more importantly, we need our time to be as distraction free as possible, in order to get the most out of it and drop our stress levels as much as we can during the short periods of resting time we get. Therefore, we tend to spend our holidays as blank time voids, failing to enjoy their special implications or enjoying the different things they have to offer us.
Isn’t it also true, though that these special things or traditions are what will make the time spent stand out from just another ordinary weekend and make us remember “Easter of…[insert date here]” just like we remember the Summer of… let’s say ’69 🙂 ?
So what are some Greek Easter traditions that would be fun (and fairly easy) to keep?
- Egg painting, of course! Although the traditional egg dye is red (symbolizing the blood of Christ, I suppose), there are a million ways to paint wonderful patterns and colours on eggs and let me tell you, after nailart, there are even trends in egg dying 🙂 Pastel & gold, Baby blue, organic dyes from vegetables, decoupage eggs and many many more. Get creative and enjoy it!
- Easter Baking. There’s nothing like trying to roll a perfect french braid cookie to make you long for corporate world, I know. But still, if you get your friends or favorite aunts together it can be a great way to learn all the latest news and have some quality time together! Just make sure to leave before they get to piercing personal questions (my tip :P)
- Fasting – for 40 whole days or just for the Holy Week, fasting is a great way to a) detox b) remember that there are so many more dishes than just meat and c) challenge yourself. And you can of course choose if you will be abstaining from meat or follow the traditional way and stay away from milk, cheese and dairy in general too.
- Follow the church services, especially the traditions of Good Friday and Saturday. In small villages the women even decorate the Epitafios themselves on Clean Thursday, even though in big cities the best florists compete for the most impressive and unique design. On Good Friday follow the Epitafios (or tomb of Christ) carried around the church & notice how at the end someone closes the church door and then the priest has to call three times for the door to be opened; afterwards enter the church and listen to the people sing the Enkomia (Lamentations or Praises), beautiful and moving songs about love and death. The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated on Saturday, at midnight, with A.LOT of fireworks and huge fires (burning Judas and everything evil of this world – you can also throw your March bracelet in this fire).
- Easter Sunday, of course. If you have been fasting for 40 days you don’t need any more reasons to love the day which signifies the Resurrection of Christ and the end of Lent. Early in the afternoon you can also attend the Service of Love, one of the most beautiful christian services of the year.
How was your Easter this year? Did you get some rest, did you go on a trip or did you follow any of these traditions yourself? I’d love to know!