Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Easter, Again

Unbeknownst to Chris and I, the Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated on a different date than the Christian Easter.

I realized this Saturday night at about midnight when the sound of fireworks startled me out of bed.

The actual Easter festival begins on Good Friday and people go to the churches to see how the priests and monk's take down the icon of Christ off the cross, wrap it in linen and put it in a great casket covered in flowers symbolizing the tomb of Christ. Then the bier is taken through the town or village, with people lamenting the death of Christ.

On Saturday everyone goes to church late in the evening, carrying with them unlit candles. At midnight the priest announces the resurrection of Christ ("Christos anesti") and lets the people light their candles of the Holy Flame taken from Christ's nativity cave in Jerusalem. As everybody does this fireworks and crackers go off and the dark night is filled with light from the candles. After this, everybody goes home for a meal - the fast is over. If their candles are still burning, a cross is made in the doorway with the soot, to protect the house for the coming year.

On Easter Sunday friends and family gather in homes, eating lamb on the spit and dyed eggs. Before the red eggs are eaten, however, you must crack them against your neighbours, and whoever wins by having a whole egg at the end, will get all the luck.

So...Chris and I got to celebrate Easter #2, Greek Orthodox style.

Today we are leaving Ixia and moving across the island to a town called Faliraki. We will stay there for the remainder of the month before meeting April (who turns 28 today-happy birthday April!) in Athens.

Hope everyone had a lovely Spring weekend.

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