The pace of modern life may not leave many families with sufficient time to share meals. With the Greek crisis and current economic problems adding extra stress and anxiety to parents and their children alike, Easter time seems like a particularly good chance to get together, let go of the troubles even for a little while and remember the strong bonds between families and friends that can always make life seem more optimistic and more beautiful.
Apart from the nutritional pitfalls that are often part of the heavy Easter “menu”, big festive tables present an opportunity to strengthen family ties, especially beneficial to children and adolescents, as recorded in recent surveys. The Greek Easter is well known for its family-like character, where most people go to Church, keep the Holy Week fasting and then enjoy the Easter Sunday table in the open with lots of drinking, dancing and music.
According to survey data, the more families eat together, the less likely it is for children to become obese, to start smoking tobacco or marijuana or alcohol drinking, get lower grades at school and suffer from stress or reduced self-confidence.
What makes celebratory family gatherings so important is the overall relaxed and joyful attitude found among the participants. Everyone is practically and actually involved in the happenings of the festive day, which can have a tremendously positive impact on one’s negative psychological mood.
To this purpose holidays should not become at any point oppressive or stressful, but rather a time of absolute delight and tranquility.
As noted above, the main advantage of family celebrations is to strengthen the ties between family members, since friends and relatives make up the most important social circle of every human being. Communication is facilitated through laughter, jokes, dancing or even petty disagreements that usually arise after alcohol consumption on Easter Sunday. The elderly tell stories from years before, beautiful memories come to the surface and the younger are initiated in the traditions, history and habits of the family and its social background.
The sense of belonging to a family is most praised among the Greeks, especially in the post Memorandum country that has brought many plights upon its people. In view of liquidity and unemployment problems, many Greeks are returning to their villages and past Easter habits of spending time with parents and grandparents instead of taking a few-day vacation.