Easter

Happy Easter!/ Καλο Πασχα!

Easter greeting card

The Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter a week after the Catholic Easter. It depends on the calendar; in the past their respective Easters were celebrated on the same week.

On Thursday before Easter Sunday, some eggs are dyed red and they  represent the blood that was spilled by Jesus on the cross. The large white candle is called a ‘labada’, and they can be decorated with toys and ribbons. It is brought to church on Saturday night to receive the holy light. After the ceremony there are fireworks and people kiss each other on the cheek and they say ‘Christos Anesti’ meaning ‘Christ has risen’. The lit ‘labada’  is then brought home and before entering the home, the sign of the cross is made three times with the flame from the candle at the front door.

On Easter Sunday most Greeks will spit a lamb and visitors will greet the host and random people on the street by saying ‘Christos Anesti’, Christ has risen. the person will reply by saying ‘Alithos o Kyrios’ which means ‘it is true he has risen’.

For those who observed the 40 day lent, which is strict like a vegan diet, Easter Sunday is a day to eat, drink and be merry..until you fall into a coma!

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O Επιταφιος/Epitaphios

Epitafios1epitafios2icon

epitafiosnight

On Friday evening, before Easter Sunday,  Greek Orthodox Christians arrive in droves to church to mourn Christ.  ‘Epitaphios’ in Greek means ‘on the tomb’ and it is a religious icon embroidered on a cloth with an image of the dead body of Christ. It is placed on the holy table that is adorned with beautiful flowers early in the morning. In the evening the ‘Epitaphio’ is carried outside, and the funeral procession begins.  At the end of the procession the clergy, who are carrying the ‘Epitaphio’, stand at the door of the church. The worshipers then pass underneath it. It symbolizes entering the tomb of Christ. These rituals symbolize the death and resurrection of Jesus. On Saturday night close to midnight people will receive the holy light from Jerusalem and praise Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into the heavens.