GREEK EASTER

DATE: 20.04.16

Easter is the most celebrated holiday in the Greek Orthodox calendar. It is so important that no Orthodox weddings are held during this period.  However, symbolic and civil ceremonies are still allowed. So if you are dreaming of a wedding on the beach in Crete during Easter we can bring your dream to life! 

Should you find yourself travelling to Greece during Easter, which falls on May 1st this year, you are in for a treat.  The weather is dramatic and beautiful in spring, with periods of intense sunlight and warmth but also bursts of rain and the occasional thunderstorm, providing the perfect backdrop for sensational sunsets….and sunrises.  Nature is also in full bloom at this time.  Wildflowers dot the landscape with bursts of colour.  Some fields in the scenic Cretan countryside may be entirely yellow thanks to the buttercup flower that grows in abundance all over Crete.  It is a time of rebirth not only for the land, but also in the Greek Orthodox faith. 

Red Easter Eggs

One of the many things that make Easter special in Greece is the tradition of dyeing eggs red. This ritual is carried out on Holy Thursday. The eggs are dyed red to symbolize the blood that Christ shed on the cross at the crucifixion. The color red also symbolizes life and victory.  The Greeks like to participate in a tradition where each “player” holds a red egg, and one taps the end of his egg lightly against the end of the other player's egg. The goal is to crack the opponent's egg. The player who successfully cracks the eggs of all the other players is declared the winner and, it is said, will have good luck during the following year.

Traditional Easter Foods

Magiritsa

No holiday in Greece would be complete without its traditional foods and Easter is no exception.  Magiritsa, Easter’s most famous dish, is eaten to break the fast of Lent. Its role and ingredients result from its association with the roasted lamb traditionally served at the Easter Sunday meal. In its traditional form, magiritsa simply consists of all the offal removed from the lamb before roasting, and then flavored with seasonings and sauces. Magiritsa is consumed immediately after the midnight service.

Tsoureki

Tsoureki, a soft brioche like bread, is also associated with Easter and enjoyed by all. The butter is added after kneading: the dough is stretched, brushed with melted butter, folded and stretched again repeatedly, until all the butter is incorporated. The result of this technique is that the baked bread separates easily into strands.  Tsoureki can be found in bakeries all across Greece during this time. Don’t miss it while you’re here!

Sunday Feast

On Easter Sunday friends and family gather at one another's houses.  A lamb is usually roasted on a spit, or sometimes in the oven. Many other foods accompany the main dish such as potatoes, salads, dips and spreads like tsatsiki, melitzanosalata, or fava.  The Greek cuisine is varied and always emphasizes fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits.  Wine flows in abundance! 

The atmosphere on Easter Sunday is festive and celebratory and should you drive through villages large or small you will most certainly encounter happy locals and probably hear the popping sounds of the small firecrackers that the younger Greeks like to set off to celebrate the holiday.  Kalo Pasxa! 

There are many more traditions in Greek culture, and some specific just to Crete, regarding Easter and other holidays & events.  Greek weddings, for example, have many special rituals and treats. We can help you include any of these customs into your wedding in Crete for a truly unique ceremony.