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!
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.
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Εφεσίους 4: 2: “Να είσαι απόλυτα ταπεινός και ευγενής. να είστε υπομονετικοί, να έρθετε ο ένας στον άλλο με αγάπη ».
I love making decorations for every holiday and for this Easter I got crafty and made these teeny tiny Easter Baskets. The only things I needed were egg cartons, twine, wire straws and a ton of glue. So much fun! Try it.
Cave full of icons at the ‘Spring of Hasia’
Today, is a very important day for Greeks of the Orthodox faith. It is the day of the Great Feast of the dormition or death of the Virgin Mary. Many people fast for 15 days before this day and then a great feast is prepared. Athens is always so quiet this time of year as most Athenians head out of the city to celebrate this religious occasion.
I came across this little cave with Greek Orthodox icons inside. Not sure why the icons were placed in there, but it is most likely that some sort of miracle happened there. I’ll soon find out.. It’s located outside of Athens at a mountain with natural spring water running all around the site, and it is near a monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
I have no laurels
to sit on
so I’ll count my losses
and carry gold crosses
I will win this war.
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38
” καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.” ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 10:38
Easter is the biggest religious event for Greek Orthodox Christians and this year it falls on the same week as the Catholic Easter. Have a Happy Easter! Καλό Πάσχα! (pronounced: Kalo pascha) Buona Pasqua! & ¡Felices Pascuas!