Easter is one of the most important holidays in Greece, celebrated in spring. As by the Orthodox Church, the Greek Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the rebirth of nature during spring. Even if you are not a devout religious person, you can’t help but get moved by the ceremonies and the way life begins again after winter.
But let’s see what makes Greek Easter so special!
Greeks definitely know how to combine good food with fun activities!
Dying hard-boiled eggs red, baking delicious twisted bread also known as “Tsoureki” and Easter cookies and cooking “Magiritsa” soup are some of the most popular traditions.
The highlight of the Easter feast is the spit-roast lamb, slow cooked and served with various appetizers.
The Easter celebrations last for the whole of “Holy Week”, beginning on Palm and ending on Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, people gather around the Epitaph, a symbolic funeral bier of Jesus Christ, completely covered in flowers, and start a long walk holding lit candles, in order to pay their respects. A beautiful ceremony that even though it has a melancholic vibe, it is a truly unforgettable experience.
The biggest gathering takes place on Holy Saturday for the Anastasi Mass, which marks Christ’s Resurrection. Just before midnight, all the lights are turned off and the priest holds up the light of the eternal flame and lights the candles the congregation holds. Then, the celebration begins and fireworks light up the sky in every neighbourhood, creating a joyous atmosphere.
On Holy Sunday, the Resurrection is celebrated with a big outdoor lunch, with the famous roast lamb and many other traditional delicacies accompanied by music, dancing and the red egg cracking game.
Where to celebrate the Greek Easter:
No matter the place, Easter in Greece is celebrated with glory everywhere. But Easter at the Greek islands is definitely the most vivid! Visiting a Greek island during Easter not only offers the opportunity of participating in unique local traditions but also of enjoying the magical springtime Mediterranean weather. Whether you are craving to visit the Cyclades or an Ionian Island, the top two places to be for an unforgettable Greek Easter are Paros and Corfu.
Easter in Corfu
The truth is, visiting Corfu during springtime to celebrate Easter can be an unforgettable experience.
The local celebrations are one-of-a-kind and will fill your heart with festive spirit!
The highlights of an Easter in Corfu definitely include the parade of epitaphs from all of the Town’s Churches. 33 epitaphs, that symbolise Jesus’ age, take place in town, elegantly decorated with flowers and ultimately gathering at the center of the Town. The crowds gather and follow the epitaphs, holding lit candles that light up the night, accompanied by philharmonic orchestras, each of which performs a special piece of music for the occasion. The procession of the majestic epitaph of Corfu Cathedral, which leaves the cathedral at 10 p.m. and returns near midnight, completes the epitaph procession rite and offers a truly captivating experience.
On Holy Saturday, after the “First Resurrection” at exactly 11 p.m. the bells of the churches chime joyously and Corfu Town hosts the so-called “Botides” custom. During Botides people toss large clay pots filled with water from their balconies or windows while the crowd watches the spectacle along with the sounds of the island’s philharmonics playing religious marches. This loud and vivid tradition is surely a unique experience!
Besides the Easter celebrations, visiting Corfu in spring allows you to explore the island more comfortably, as the temperatures are still not very high. Lush greenery, beautiful architecture, various churches and historical monuments are just a few of the various incredible things that Corfu has to offer!
Easter in Paros
Spring in Paros is filled with aromas of lavender and rosemary, while wildflower carpets adorn the island’s lush hillsides. At the same time Easter is celebrated in a beautiful and unique style, creating a sense of renewal and vividness.
Good Friday is of course, again, one of the highlights of Easter in Paros. An imposing ritual that depicts the Descent of Jesus Christ from the Cross takes place at the exceptional Byzantine cathedral of Panagia Ekatontapiliani during midday. Later, lunching at Prodromos village takes place, with delicious traditional chickpea soup and the day ends with recreations of the Passion of Christ at the villages of Marpissa, Marmara, Prodromos, Lefkes and Aspro Chorio.
On Holy Saturday the Resurrection is being celebrated with great glory at 12 a.m. with ringing bells and fireworks creating a spectacular breath-taking atmosphere.
On Easter Sunday the entire island celebrates, being filled with the smell of roast lamb, sounds of music and dancing along with the company of good wine.
At the port of Naoussa an all-day feast is being held by all the restaurants, while at Marpissa the celebration of “Agapi” (Love) takes place.
Spending an Easter Holiday in Greece and participating in these unique customs and festivities will not only make you feel like a local, but will also give you one-of-a-kind experiences and extraordinary memories that you will never stop cherishing.