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Easter in Greece

Easter is probably the most important religious feast for Greeks, not only because of its symbolic character, the death of Jesus Christ and the resurrection but mostly because of the festivities which follow the Holy Week. Greece is known for its rich tradition in customs which differ from region to region.

The Holy Week is a period of mourning and believers go to church more often during these days to attend the services which narrate Christ's Passion. It is also a common practice for Greeks to keep a fast during the Holy Week or in some places for forty days before the day of resurrection.

easter in greece easter in greece

The preparations for the Easter table start on Holy Thursday. The housewives prepare traditional tsoureki brioche, Easter cookies and dye boiled eggs red. In the north of Greece housewives also hang a piece of red fabric from a balcony of their front door.

On Good Friday, there is a representation of Christ being buried. Everybody goes to church to decorate the Epitaphios with all kinds of flowers. The Epitaphios is a large icon set on a base which is carried around the church while the priests are chanting and the Christians follow the procession. In some places such as Hydra, there is a custom to burn a Judas dummy as well.

easter in greece easter in greece

In some places such as Corfu the Easter celebration is a bit different and many people from all over Greece and abroad visit the island to celebrate these special days and see the extraordinary sight of the people of Corfu throwing clay pots of water outside their windows on Saturday.

During the night, on Saturday, people gather in churches with candles in their hands which are lit as soon as the Holy Light from Jerusalem is brought and then the church lights are switched off and at midnight the priest chants "Christos Anesti" which means "Christ is risen" and people outside the church start to let off fireworks. In some parts of Greece this is a spectacular sight. In the village of Vrodados in Chios for example, the congregations of two churches launch rockets at one another.

easter in greece easter in greece

After the resurrection the churchgoers return home late at night with their candles still burning with the Holy Light. Before entering their house they make the sign of a cross, for blessing, using the lighted candle and then they set the table to eat the traditional mageiritsa which is a soup made of meat and vegetables while they also crack open their red eggs.

Rocket war - Vrodados chios greece

Sunday is the day of the great celebration, centering around an Easter table dominated by meat roasted in the oven or mainly on a spit. Then come the traditional songs and dances that last until late at night.

easter in greece

Upcoming Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday Dates:

2008: April 27
2015: April 12
2022: April 24
2009: April 19
2016: May 1
2023: April 16
2010: April 4
2017: April 16
2024: May 5
2011: April 24
2018: April 8
2025: April 20
2012: April 15
2019: April 28
2026: April 12
2013: May 5
2020: April 19
2027: May 2
2014: April 20
2021: May 2
2028: April 16

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