The Greek Easter, or Pascha as we call it, is the most important week of the year for all Greeks the world over. It’s a beautiful and humbling week filled with traditions going back eons. During the Holy Week, most of us don’t have much time for anything but fasting and going to church. Fasting for us usually means avoiding all red meat, dairy products, and some go to extremes by avoiding all kinds of meat and even olive oil.
During the Good Friday service, Greeks mourn the death of Jesus by carrying the Epitaphio outside and around the Church and back inside. Midnight Mass on Saturday night, going into Sunday morning is the Anastasi service. As the service progresses, the moment we have all been waiting for approaches. All the lights in the church are turned off. Then the priest with lit candle approaches the congregation and using his one candle he shares his light with a few people in the front pews. They in turn share their light with the people next to them and behind them. With tones of firecrackers going off around the vicinity of the church, and at some point the priest cries out, “Christos Anesti!” “Christ has Risen!” We respond with “Alithos Anesti!” “Truly, He is Risen!”
This marks the point of return for most walking home with lit candles in hand. Once home, the first action is to burn a cross into the top part of the entrance doorway with the carbon from the candles smoke. The cross will bless the house for the coming year. Once inside we crack eggs and feast until the early hours.
It is about renewal and faith. I wish everyone, family and friends, a Happy Easter ;-)
Support this blog
If you enjoyed this article or found it useful, you could help by sharing it for others to find and read! You could also shout me a coffee if you like, by pressing the Donate button, thanks!