Good timing for this post – exactly one week before Greek Easter Saturday. I'm writing this on Crete- after having travelled overnight by ferry. I'm sitting in a cafe with the water lapping on the beach behind me - ahhhh bliss!
is the most important celebration in the Greek Orthodox Church. 40 days before Easter, one is supposed to ‘cleanse’ oneself by not eating any meat or fish. Fish without blood is ok, so therefore on Clean Monday (the first day of the ‘fast’) people eat calamari. Greece
On Good Friday there is a continual mournful sound wailing from the churches and in the evening, you can join in the local procession to the Service of Lamentation with a lit candle, usually congregating in the town square and meandering your way to the church. The cross with Jesus is carried on the shoulders of dedicated followers.
Saturday the Eternal Flame is brought to
“Oh it is!” she reassured me flippantly.
|It looks delicious, but it ain't! Source: http://www.greecelogue.com/magiritsa-traditional-soup-served-after-the-resurrection-service.html|
Hard boiled eggs dyed red are also eaten – red symbolizing the blood of Christ and re-birth. Before eating, you have to tap the top of the egg with your opponent, seeing whose cracks first. This game continues throughout the rest of Easter.
|The Red Eggs - Source: http://usa.greekreporter.com/2011/04/24/the-symbolism-of-cracking-red-eggs-on-easter/|
Sunday one will awaken and think there’s a fire in the building! In fact no, it’s a smell of all and sundry roasting a whole lamb on the spit. Everybody who can does it, whether they’re lucky enough to have a back garden, or even on their city balconies!
Again, it’s not for the weak hearted: it’s the WHOLE lamb that has a big spit from head to arse – and you can even see its eye lashes! In smaller villages or on islands, a lamb is often roasted in the town square and many gather for the social occasion of eating.
Monday is for the left over’s and relaxing (rather like Boxing Day).
So! Come to
for Easter – you’re sure to have an interesting time and discover more about this country’s diverse culture. Greece