Easter in Greece, a country united in celebration!

“Hristos Anesti!” – Christ Has Risen
“Alithos o Kirios” – Truly He Has

These are words that ring throughout Greece on Orthodox Easter Sunday and for many days to follow the highest holy day of the year. Neighbors greet each other with this, store attendants welcome customers as such, and with the hope and love of the season, communities come together and live in the glorious moment, letting the challenges of daily life sit on the sideline for a bit. As visitors to a country of citizens whose faith is a national religion, travelers are engulfed with the festivities.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, traditions vary throughout the land both leading up to Easter and on Easter day. Some communities, such as the Chios Island engage in a ‘roketopolemo’ with fireworks lighting the sky. In Agios Nikolas, Crete, bonfires of the burning of Judas dot the waters. On the island of Corfu, pictured above, residents gather early for the first resurrection and symbolic pot-smashing in the square, then fireworks in the sky, and eventually more bands parading through the town in culmination of Holy Week and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Lights frame cliffs of Santorini, illuminating the island in hope and faith. The mainland is steeped in song of faith as church bells ring, and citizens gather to receive the Holy Light.

At midnight, on Holy Saturday, the Eternal Light originates every year at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Orthodox Easter Holy Fire ceremony sees worshipers lighting torches and candles from a flame they believe was miraculously lit at the tomb of Jesus on the eve of Orthodox Easter. The Holy Fire is taken by Greek military jets to Greece, and then to other Orthodox communities across the world.

The familiar and savory smell of Easter fills the air on Sunday and tease our tummies…it’s time…Easter Glendi!

While words cannot do justice to the experience of Holy Week and Easter in Greece, we’re sharing photos of this time in the gallery below. These are moments during all of Holy Week. Not all pictures are our own, and we try to credit the original postings, but all pictures depict the spirit and hope of the season.

From our family to yours, Insiders Tours Greece sends endless wishes of a Happy Easter!

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Easter in Greece: Saturday of Lazarus and Palm Sunday

Today the western world celebrates Easter. Happy Easter to all who celebrate! For Greek and Eastern Orthodox Christians, Holy Week begins. This weekend marks the joy of miracles and resurrection.

The Saturday of Lazarus celebrates Christ’s raising of Lazarus of Bethany. Events throughout Greece vary by region, however young women traditionally visit neighbors with flowers and Lazarakia sweet breads to share, even as some villagers sing chorals of the miracle. In the United States, it is common for children of a Greek Orthodox parish to gather for morning service, a breakfast traditionally prepared by the ladies of the parish. Together, they craft crosses from palms to share with believers on Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday, a triumphal and joyous feast day, depicts Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, as faithful learn of the miracle of Lazarus’s raising and in turn prepare for the mourning of Holy Week.

Citizens of Greece live these most significant religious days filled with traditions and practices that have them experience the passion of the week. It is impressive to feel the energy and “vibe” in every step you take, each meal enjoyed, and customary events throughout the week.

An authentic tour during Easter is more than sprinkled with such experiences, immersing travelers in the celebrations, and making Easter in Greece a distinct and energizing journey.

Blog: There’s no place like Greece!

Our grandmother, yiayia Stella, always impressed upon us that Easter is the most important holiday for our faith. Clearly, we (my brothers and I) bombarded her with endless questions on our Friday evening walks to church services during lent for the Egomia, and her answers changed changed only slightly according to our age.

As practicing Greek Orthodox Christians,definitely not theologians, but lay people, we feel an extra special connection when we experience this reflective and renewing season of peace in Greece. Therefore, we’re thrilled to present an annual Easter Tour -offering travelers the opportunity to also experience what we so clearly treasure.

Different regions of Greece have different and distinct traditions. However, it is the coming together of all people, the laughter of family and friends, and the love which is felt all around that makes Easter in Greece extra special. We look forward to sharing this with you, and on Holy Saturday to raise our lambathes and chant Christos Anesti together.

Check this blog throughout the week for an Insiders’ recap of Holy Week 2018.

Let’s Begin in Athens

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