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Hello guys! I thought I could give you a small taste of what's going on here these days... Now it's Big Saturday here and there are a few hours left for the Easter. Orthodox Easter is one week after the Catholic Easter.
So.. our religion says that Orthodox Christians may fast for a period of 50 days before Easter (that means eating no products that come from animals) including no oil for every Wednesday and Friday of this period, especially during the Holy Week. In Holy week, people go to church every day (morning and afternoon), where many people sing and the atmosphere is very touching. All texts and gospels that are read in the church are in ancient greek (katharevousa). In Big Thursday morning, all women go home after the church, to dye their eggs red. That symbolizes the Christ's blood and His sacrifice. Also, they are baking sweet breads that symbolize the joy of Christ's resurrection. They look like this:

Also, Godfathers and Godmothers are buying gifts for the kids they baptised.
In the evening, the bells of the church are ringing for the last time before Easter and the church services include a symbolic representation of the crucifixion.Late in the evening, the women go to the church to decorate the Epitaph with many flowers- the symbolic bier of Christ.Here's an Epitaph:


The next day, Big Friday, everything is more quiet than usual. Christ is no longer alive and people are mourning about the dead.The cafeterias and all the other shops in town play no music. Radio stations are transmitting gospel music all related to Big Friday. It is a day of mourning, not of work (including cooking). In the afternoon, people go to the church until late in the evening. In the meanwhile, some men carry the Epitaph on their shoulders and many people follow the Epitaph on the streets, just like it would have happened in a funeral.There's a picture where 4 Epitaphs are "met" on the street.

People carry lighted candles and they all sing together. Then they return to the church.
Big Saturday and everyone makes preparations for midnight. In the evening, people go to church and they hold a big candle, that is called labatha. The people are so many, that they are standing outside the churches. Here's a picture:

A little while before midnight, the Eternal flame from Jerusalem is brought to Greece by military jet, and is distributed to waiting Priests who carry it to their local churches. People light their candles with this light. Now everyone is waiting for the priest's words.

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος.

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

Once the priest says these words, everyone is hugging and kissing each other :) Fireworks hit the sky and people are smiling. Some of them bring some of the dyed eggs and they hit them with one another, to see which egg is harder (whoever has it, is considered to be the luckiest of the family). Here's a picture:

People return to the church and stay until late. When they return home , they eat a traditional meat soup (mageiritsa).
The next day, everyone is preparing the meals. The men are preparing lamb on the spit and everyone gathers to celebrate. A lot of people are celebrating all day eating, drinking and dancing :) Of course, there are many other traditions in different places of Greece, but that's what we do here :)
I hope you all had a great Easter with your loved ones!

Picture sources:
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??????? ??? ?????- ??? ??? ????? ??? ??? ??? ??????- ????? ??????????? ????; - ?????????? - The Best News
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Despina,thank you for the insight! I had no idea how Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter!:)

Happy Easter to you!:hug:
Thank you Gaby! That's exactly what we do here- you are welcome to come one day and celebrate with us! :) I hope you had a lovely Easter with your family! :hug:
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you Despina!:hug: I had a nice Easter with my family and my best friends. Everything was quiet and peaceful,no big parties or something like that.
Sounds great! Well, as for our Easter, I suppose I'll tell you tommorrow! :D
 
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Thanks for sharing with us the way Easter is celebrated in Greece, Despina! :)
Here in my country we also have a traditional Easter cake and we also eat lamb on Easter Sunday.
 

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Very interesting! Thanks for sharing :)
Thank you Dee! Every Easter here is like that! :)

Thanks for sharing with us the way Easter is celebrated in Greece, Despina! :)
Here in my country we also have a traditional Easter cake and we also eat lamb on Easter Sunday.
Thank you Ana! I see we have things in common! :D I'd love to hear more about your traditions there, in Portugal! :)
 

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Thank you for sharing this post, Despina! It was really great to read about another cultural tradition. We have a lot of Orthodox Christians in Madrid, and my local fruit shop is selling the dye for the eggs, so I learned about it from him (even though he is from Morocco, he knows a lot about other cultures).

I hope that you are having a very relaxing Holy Week and that this time is filled with that special magic that accompanies the time of year!

Christos Anesti! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for sharing this post, Despina! It was really great to read about another cultural tradition. We have a lot of Orthodox Christians in Madrid, and my local fruit shop is selling the dye for the eggs, so I learned about it from him (even though he is from Morocco, he knows a lot about other cultures).

I hope that you are having a very relaxing Holy Week and that this time is filled with that special magic that accompanies the time of year!

Christos Anesti! :)
Haha! We'll say Χριστός Ανέστη (Christos Anesti) after midnight! :D Thank you Bethany! I am glad you like our traditions- that's what's happening here every year! :) Needless to say but it's rare to find a person who knows a bit about Orthodox Easter! :) that was a nice surprise!
Tell me about magic.. I think Easter is the most beautiful celebration of the year! I hope you had a lovely Easter with your family, Bethany! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Christos Anesti!Finally,Easter is here..I wish to each and every one of you good health,opticism,joy and happy moments with your loved ones.Let love guide you through your lives!Happy Easter from Greece!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Despina,

Your post was so enlightening for me and I truly enjoyed reading about your traditions and customs.

Thank you for taking the time to share this important part of your life with us! :hug:

Χριστός Ανέστη
Αληθώς ο Κύριος! (He has risen indeed!) That's what we answer to this! :) Thank you Deb! We've been doing all this stuff since I was a little- and we were taught by our elders! I am glad you liked it and you're welcome to see them in person one day! :D
 

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Despina...he has risen indeed, and all who place their trust in him and the blood he shed for their sin, share in that resurrection. Thank you for the pictures and account of this celebration...:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Despina...he has risen indeed, and all who place their trust in him and the blood he shed for their sin, share in that resurrection. Thank you for the pictures and account of this celebration...:)
I thank you Randy for your nice words.. It's true.. Christ has risen and within him hope came into our souls :) I am glad I gave you a small taste of what's happening every year here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Happy Easter to you, and I hope that you are enjoying it in the company of your friends and family! :)
Happy Easter to you too!! It was really nice! Our Priest went on to say "Christos Anesti" and then waited to hear the crowd say "Alithos Anesti"! This happened so many times, until it was loud enough for him! :p The fireworks were awesome! Today we had a big meal, lots of wine and music! It was fun! :D
 
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