Easter in Greece: Cooking and other traditions during Easter period
READ THIS ARTICLE IN GREEK: https://www.alexandria-institute.com/el/easter-in-greece/
Easter is one of the most important Greek feasts. If you plan to visit Greece during Orthodox Easter, you will certainly be impressed by the Εaster traditions! Below, we present you the most important Greek traditions you will witness during Holy Week. Read our article and you will be prepared to enjoy together with the Greeks the unique Easter customs!
Let’s start with some culinary traditions. 👩🍳👨🍳
❗Holy Week is a period of fasting and people don’t consume meat and any of its product, like the milk, the cheese and the eggs. On Holy Friday they eat lentil soup with vinegar and without oil…😮
📌on Holy Thursday
✅Traditionally, on Holy Thursday they make tsoureki, a sweet “bread” which they eat on Easter Sunday. Nowadays, you can buy tsoureki at the bakery or at the pastry shop, as its preparation is time-consuming. Tsoureki is flavored with spices like masticha and mahlep and it is very aromatic! It is very delicious and it can be served with the coffee.
✅Moreover, on Holy Thursday Greeks dye hard boiled eggs red. Nowadays, many people dye the eggs with several colors, but traditionally the color of the Easter eggs is the red. 🥚🖍
✅On Holy Thursday they prepare the Easter cookies, to which no child can resist and eat just one! They have orange and vanilla flavor and they are very tasty!
On Holy Friday church bells ring in mournful way as from the noon. 💒This day is the most solemn day of Holy Week. In the evening people go to the church, where hymns related to the burial of the Jesus Christ are sung. The Epitafios, which represents the Tomb of Christ, is decorated with fresh flowers and in the evening the Epitafios procession takes place outside the church either just around the church’s block, in the big cities, or through the streets of the village. The faithful, filling the atmosphere with piety and devoutness, follow the procession of the Epitafios holding a lighted candle or lanterns.
On Holy Saturday late at night the faithful go to church to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, which takes place at midnight sharp. 💒Everyone holds a candle (lampada) waiting to receive the Holy Light from the priest. After midnight the bells ring joyously and the people say “Hristos Anesti!” (Christ is Risen) waiting for the answer “Alithos Anesti!” (He is Truly Risen). Then families return home with a lighted candle and form a cross over the front door of the house with the smoke of the flame.
📌on Holy Saturday
✅On Holy Saturday, after the Resurrection service everybody return at home and they prepare the dinner. Fasting has ended, so everybody can eat magiritsa, a lamb soup made with lamb pluck and intestines, vegetables, herbs, dill, rice and avgolemono. Magiritsa is a controversial soup and maybe not everybody likes it, but it is the traditional Greek soup after the Resurrection service!
👉Tsougrisma: cracking the red eggs 🥚🥚
On Holy Saturday after Resurrection service or on Sunday Easter people crack the dyed hard-boiled eggs. Everyone chooses an egg and then he/she cracks it on top of another person’s egg. The person who ends up without having his/her egg cracked is the winner and it is said that he/she will have good luck! Tsougrisma is like a game and not only the children enjoy it but also the adults!
📌on Easter Sunday
✅On Easter Sunday, Greeks prepare a whole lamb roasting on a spit or in the oven. Usually, they prefer to celebrate Easter at the countryside, where there is enough space to roast the lamb on a spit, which needs 5 hours to be ready.
Another dish for Easter meal is kokoretsi, which is made with lamb pluck and intestines and it is roasted on a spit, as well. It is served as mezes.
✅More Greek Easter traditions
🕯 Traditionally, the godfather or godmother buys at his / her godchild the lampada, which is the candle to hold on Holy Saturday at the church. This candle is usually colored and decorated with a small toy or ornament that the child later can use. Also, the godfather / godmother buys a large chocolate egg and a gift for his/her godchild, which is usually a pair of shoes.
🧨 After the Resurrection, in the courtyard of the church some people are used to throwing firecrackers that make a lot of noise. This habit is quite dangerous because the firecrackers can cause injuries or even fire. Although their use is prohibited by law, some people continue, unfortunately, this dangerous custom… So, be careful if you go to church on Holy Saturday night! 😉🐣
Of course, every region in Greece has its own Easter customs and traditions and visiting the country during the Easter Period is a unique experience! So, book your tickets and come to celebrate Easter in Greece like a local!
✅another word for Easter: Λαμπρή [Lambri], which literally means “brilliant”
✅Whishes for the Easter
• «Καλό Πάσχα!» [Kalo Pascha], which means “Happy Easter!”: during the Holy Week and Before Easter Sunday
• «Καλή Ανάσταση!» [Kali Anastasi], which literally means “Good Resurrection!”: as from Holy Thursday and before Resurrection service
• «Χρόνια Πολλά!» [Hronia Pola]: after Resurrection service
• after Resurrection, families, friends and relatives exchange kisses saying: «Χριστός Ανέστη!» [Hristos Anesti!], which literally means “the Christ has risen” and replying: «Αληθώς Ανέστη!» [Alithos Anesti], which literally means “He is Risen indeed”