Every year, at the dawn of the tourist season, Greece slips into a devout state from top to bottom. It is the time of year when Greeks gather to celebrate Easter, or Pascha, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s suffering and resurrection.
Easter, as one of Christianity’s most important holidays, holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. Throughout Greece, countless customs honor this holy time of year, making every corner of the country a hotbed of spirituality and religious experience.
Some of these corners can be found on the island of Paros. A few weeks before high season, this ever-popular summer destination offers an incredibly colorful plateau of Easter celebrations and rituals. From mystical ceremonies to vivid reenactments and Dionysian feasts, Paros will not disappoint the early bird visitor. On the contrary, anyone who has spent Easter there has yet to partake in anything comparable.
The Passion of Christ in 12 living snapshots
On Great Friday, one of the most memorable customs on the island takes place in the small traditional settlement of Marpissa.
Late on Maundy Thursday, the women of the village gather at church to prepare the Epitaphios, a cloth bearing the image of Jesus Christ’s dead body. The cloth is then carried around the village on the night of Great Friday, followed by a chanting crowd. However, unlike similar processions, the one in Marpissa makes eleven stops for the people to witness the reenactment of eleven scenes from Jesus Christ’s Passion.
This one-of-a-kind tradition was conceived by a local teacher in 1924 and has been faithfully carried out ever since. Today, over 200 people of all ages take part, and similar reenactments take place in neighboring villages.
The night the heavens cried rose petals
The Great Friday rituals find the perfect sanctuary at Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a centuries-old magnificent Byzantine church, in Parikia, the island’s largest settlement.
There, the faithful gather in mass to chant, “O, My Sweet Springtime,” in chorus. Overwhelmed with piety, they sing about the women anointing Jesus’s grave with myrrh when something incredible happens; heaps of rose petals start falling from the historic temple’s imposing dome to everyone’s awe.
When the clock strikes midnight, the Epitaphios’ carriers from the three major churches in Parikia (the other two are Taxiarchis and Zoodohos Pigi) join each other in a glorious single procession around the port town’s neighborhoods.
Discover Paros’ treasures
Nonetheless, Easter is not the only reason to visit Paros. With fewer beachgoers, a more relaxed atmosphere than during the high season, and acclaimed water sports facilities in top condition, the island’s coastline can be enjoyed like no other time of year. Picture yourself diving into the crystal-clear Aegean Sea, basking under the Mediterranean sun, and strolling along the golden sand beaches, taking in the mesmerizing views.
When you’re ready to explore more, venture through the island’s charming villages and towns. You’ll discover white-washed houses with colorful doors, bougainvillea-filled courtyards, and picturesque tavernas serving fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes.
For a truly unforgettable experience, make sure to book a stay at Olive Villa Rentals. Our luxury villas provide the perfect base for your day trips and outings, allowing you to fully enjoy the diverse, culturally rich Easter celebrations and the natural beauty of Paros Island.
So come to Paros and experience the vibrant culture and natural beauty of this Greek paradise.