A Greek Easter
With Easter approaching we are all getting ready for this holiday, including preparing to take part in various traditions, whether it is a religious tradition or with family and friends. In a small Greek Island, in the Cyclades, their traditions create a truly unforgettable experience. The Greek Island of Syros, in the heart of the Aegean Sea, hosts a quite unique annual event. These Easter traditions in Greece takes place on Holy Friday, both for the Orthodox and Catholic parishes, with hundreds of visitors gathering to witness the festivities.
Syros Island is a beautiful and unique land with the traditional beauty of a Greece but with Venetian elements. The Island has two hills, both visible from the moment the ship approaches the Island. Each hill is claimed by the Christian communities, one by the Catholic Church and the other by the Orthodox Church. Syros is one of the few places in the world that has this split between two communities.
Easter is the most important religious holiday in Greece. It is a time where families come together and take part in the wonderful traditions that make this a truly magnificent event. With flowers in full bloom and the scent of perfume emanating from the residents houses the island becomes an area of tranquillity with a sense of serenity. Amongst the alluring scents and the visual beauty of the flowers, both the Orthodox and Catholic parishes meet outside the town hall in Miaouli Square. Once here prayers take place and hymns are sung by choirs, before returning to their churches. Even though Easter does not fall at the same time for both the Orthodox and the Catholics, the two different Christian communities celebrate this important together in solidarity as part of the Easter tradition in Greece.
A few important Easter traditions in Greece:
- Egg painting
- Baking of Easter cookies – these are made either on Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday
- Decorating the Epitaph on Holy Friday after the morning church service
- Preparing the festive Sunday Easter lunch where there are multiple items to be set up and all starts from Saturday… the most important the preparation of the lamb(s) on the spit.
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