GREEK EASTER TRADITIONS
Easter in Greece is probably one of the most important religious festival of the year. The celebrations begin in earnest in Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday. During this week there are many traditions and customs that are followed by Greek families.
Baking the Easter Bread – Tosureki
This sweet unlevened bread is traditionally baked to break the Lenten fast. It is normally bradied with a hard boiled dyed red egg inserted in and then baked.The three braids represent the holy trinity. This bread is then eaten on the morning of Easter Sunday.Tradition has it that the tsoureki symbolizes the resurrection of Christ and rebirth in general . The flour is molded into shape and takes life as it transforms into bread. The red-painted egg that is usually placed on top of the bread symbolizes the blood of Jesus.
Dying of the eggs
For orthodox Greeks the egg symbolizes the empty rock tomb that Jesus was placed after his crucifixtion and where he rose from. Greeks dye the eggs in red after hard boiling them. This colour is a symbolic representation of the blood of Christ.
Cracking of the Red Eggs
A game is played with the eggs on Easter Sunday. Everyone is invited to select an egg. The first person cracks their egg on another person’s egg saying “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen) to which the response is “Alithos Anesti” (Indeed he has) The winner is the the one whose egg doesn’t crack. They then go on to hit the next person’s egg and so on until only the strongest egg has survived. The tradition is that the winner will go onto have good luck for the rest of the year.
Good Friday Procession
Good Friday commemorates the day Christ was crucified on the cross. It is a somber , serious day for the believers and a day of mourning. In many places there are crucifixion processions throught the towns and villages. Here on Zakynthos the bishops and priests in their black robes process in a dignified way throughout the town. It is a quiet and moving experience as the crowds gather to show their respects.
Midnight Mass by candlelight
At midnight on the night of Easter Saturday a special Easter service is held in the churches across Greece. Everyone gathers to celebrate the ressurection of Christ. The churches are full of people all there to celebrate the arrival of Easter. Everyone brings or is given their own Easter candle or taper.
After prayers and singing the churches are plunged into darkness at midnight. The priest is then heard to proclaim “Christo Anesti” He proceeds to light the candles of everyone in the front row. They will then turn to their neighbours and light their candles and this will continue until everyones candle is lit and the whole church is bathed in candlelight. This is a truly magical experience and a very special event. Once the service has finshed everyone will walk back to their house with their lit candles . They then use the burning flame to make a soot cross on the outside of their house.
Celebrations after midnight mass
For many people the celebrations and feasting starts right after the service with food and wine served into the early hours of the morning. A lazy Sunday morning is then followed by a wonderful day on the Sunday with family and friends.
The traditional dish to serve on Easter Sunday is lamb. Lamb has many biblical references not least St John referring to Jesus as the “Lamb of God in his gospel. The most common way to prepare the lamb is on a spit, slowly roasted for the morning. Everyone takes their turn to turn the spit and get ready for the Easter feast.
Easter in Zakynthos
Easter is an amazing time to visit Greece. There is real energy on the island. Here on Zakynthos you can see all the restauants, hotels and villas getting ready for Easter and the beginnignof the season. In our local port of Agios Nikolaos everyone is out getting the boats painted, the walls white washed and the beaches cleaned. The direct flgith form Europe always start just before this period so restaurants begin to welcome guests and everyone is excited about the months aead. The temperature at this time of year is often perfect. This year we are experiencing sunny skys and temperatures in the early to mid 20s.
The island is truly beautiful in April with all the Olive groves and mountains awash with wild flowers. Our villas come alive in spring and the gardens are looking lush and colourful. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to offer our guests the luxury of heated pools and Jacuzzis. This enables our guests to experience a traditional Greek Easter in total luxury. Why not book your Easter break now. We are taking bookings with only a 10% deposit. Our team here can hep you experience the traditionl processions in Zakynthos town, the stunning candlelit mass in Volimes and Spit Roasted Easter lunch on the beach. You have to experience this wonderful celebration at least once in you lifetime.
Tick it off your bucket list and contact us now at The Asteri Collection.
In an area of outstanding natural beauty on the unspoilt corner of North East Zakynthos you will discover an idyllic spot to spend your Zakynthos experience. Hugged by hills covered in Cypress and Olive trees with views overlooking the sparkling Ionian ocean this is the home of The Asteri Collection.
These three beautifully designed villas have been inspired by the traditional Greek ‘sugar cube’ houses and are a study in bohemian luxury. Here you will find stunning views, luxurious interiors and elegant landscaping.
Private and secluded yet within walking distance of the famous Peligoni Club and the local beach and restaurants of Agios Nikolias these villas cater for all ages and welcome families. Here you can experience laid-back luxury at its best.