Easter Sunday: Customs all around Greece
Finally, on Sunday, the mournful atmosphere of the Holy week turns into one of the biggest celebrations in Greece. Let’s have a look around the country and see how exactly Greeks honor this special day.
Patmos, Aegean Sea
The islanders gather in the monastery of Patmos which you can see in the picture and read the Gospel’s Resurrection in 7 languages. Then, the abbot spreads across all believers a red egg.
In the north, bordering with Macedonia, there is a small village called Kastanousa. Every Easter Sunday, the ‘egg fighting’ custom takes place in community. It is basically a race among the whole village, where the residents clink with excitement at the eggs that are prepared during the Holy Week. The winner is the one who has fewer broken eggs.
Kozani, Western Macedonia
The Greeks gather in the cemetery of Saint George. On this day everyone celebrates at the time of the Resurrection next to the grave of their beloved people who have passed away. Right after midnight when the priest sings the Gospel, the people start spreading wishes to each other like ‘Χριστός Ανέστη’ or ‘Χρόνια Πολλά’.Before they return home, they leave a red egg on the grave to symbolically ‘satiate’ the soul of their lost family.
Heading south, the village of Leonidio is full with excitement for Easter Sunday. As soon as the villagers hear the phrase ‘Χριστός Ανέστη’ from the priest, hundreds of small hot-air balloons light up the night sky. In fact, some of these make their way to Hydra, a small island 42 km away!
Agios Nikolaos, Crete
All around Crete, there is the custom of ‘Judas’s burning’, but Agios Nikolaos is special on this day as people around the city gather around the lake that you can see in the picture on Easter Sunday to burn the effigy of Judas located in the middle of the lake. Again, at the exact moment that the priest says ‘Χριστός Ανέστη’ an experienced archer, shoots a burning arrow at the effigy.
Seeing all these preparations, we can realize the importance of Easter for Greeks. It is about a week of sorrow, joy and honor for Greek Christians. It is also time to see family and visit home!
No matter where home is we wish you Καλό Πάσχα και Χριστός Ανέστη.