Easter is just around the corner!
Many cultures commemorate the day in many different ways. Check out this great article that shows how children celebrate Easter all around the world!
Yet, for many cultures, Christmas still takes precedence over Easter as the most-celebrated holiday of the year. Easter, while important, is often the second most-celebrated holiday – perhaps because of the solemnity many observing religions place behind the spirituality of the event.
Did you know? On the other hand, Easter is the most important day of the year for Greeks!
Andromachi, our copywriter, tells us a little bit about Greek Easter…
…and convinces us that one year, it’s definitely a good idea to commemorate Easter cultures and traditions the Greek way!
My Big Fat Greek Wedding could be a documentary!
Machi chuckles. The blockbuster hit was a fun movie, but it struck so close to home! It’s very telling of real life in Greece, where holidays are marked by music, family, food, and socializing.
“I would sum up Greek celebrations as eating and socializing,” Machi shares. “It’s a big part of our culture. It’s ingrained in us and passed down through generations.”
She’s talking of course about how Greeks are incredibly hospitable. It’s a trait shared by other Mediterranean and Balkan cultures. Greeks love to welcome you into their homes and feed you – especially during special occasions like Easter, where there is much cause to celebrate.
Machi smiles. “Many (Greeks my age) insist – I swear I won’t be like my grandmother! I won’t force-feed people! But you almost feel guilty if you don’t.”
So very characteristic of a Greek Easter celebration is the souvla – it’s characteristic of the huge amount of food that Greeks typically serve on any given day, but even more so during Greek Easter cultures and traditions.
Just imagining roast lamb with Greek salad and a selection of delicious Greek food is enough for us to want to book a ticket!
A Beautiful Spiritual Tradition
“Easter is the most important holiday to us,” Machi confesses. “It is symbolic of the regeneration of the Earth that comes with spring.”
What a spectacle Greek Easter is! Colorful flowers and foliage, the perfect symbol of rebirth and newness, surround the historical monoliths that hearken back to days gone by. This modern society, not without its challenges, gathers in local parishes to commemorate the most special day of the year for their culture. For a people that has seen everything from Socrates to a debilitating recession, constant reinvention and regeneration is key.
Holy Week is a solemn observance. There are services everyday, and many major events involving the entire congregation of local parishes.
On Holy Saturday, people gather at local parishes. Then at midnight, the priest announces that Jesus is RIsen.
Then the priest goes around and lights the congregation’s candles with holy light, which is brought straight from Jerusalem.
This in itself is incredibly unique and so very special. Every year, a member of the Greek Orthodox religion enters a cave in Jerusalem. God sends down holy light, which is then brought back to Greece with head of state honors. The light is then sent to churches around Greece, and disseminated to the congregation at midnight of Easter Sunday.
Bells toll, fireworks liven up the sky, and it’s almost as if the world begins again. God is risen, spring is here, let’s eat, drink, and be merry.
The juxtaposition of beautiful ancient traditions, and the colorful regeneration of Mother Earth, is a gorgeous testament to the intricate Greek culture.
Can you imagine how much fun all of this must be?
So, here’s our question…
How do YOU plan to celebrate Easter this year? Share in the comments!