Greek Language Blog

Easter, Πάσχα Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Easter (Πάσχα,Pascha) is the second largest celebration after the Orthodox Christmas. For others Easter is considered to be more important than Christmas. It is celebrated throughout Greece where there are different customs from one city to the other. For the Orthodoxs the Great Week has just begun yesterday. This Sunday is called the Palm Sunday (Κυριακή των Βαΐων) and represents the entrance of Jesus in the Jerusalem and the reception by the inhabitants with branches of palms. During the Holy or Great Week (Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα,megalee evdomada), church holds services at least once per day, commemorating the last week in the life of Jesus Christ.

The people who didn’t start fasting since  Clean Monday, forty days ago, the Great Week is the beginning of fasting for them.  Traditionally during this week people eat no meat, oil or dairy products until the midnight on Easter Saturday, after the symbolic Resurrection. Additionally, during the Holy Week people are not “allowed” to celebrate and listen to happy music, especially the Holy Friday which is a day of mourning.

The three first days of the week nothing special happens apart from people going to church. From Thursday the preparation gets underway for the Easter celebration.

On Thursday morning the service commemorates the Last Supper (Μυστικό Δείπνο) and the Betrayal of Christ. This is the day that the special bread-kind sweet called “Tsoureki”(Τσουρέκι) is baked and hard – boiled eggs are dyed red. The red eggs symbolize the blood of Crist as well as a new life. Eggs and tsoureki are made to be eaten not before Sunday.

Thursday’s evening service is a long one and features the twelve gospel readings. It is in this service that a representation of the Christ on the cross takes place. From this very moment, bells are ringing in a mourning tempo until the time of the Resurrection on Saturday’s midnight.

From a spectator’s point of view from Friday it starts to get very interesting. The next post will follow with the rest of the days until Easter as well as some well-known customs and traditions.

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