By Olga Militsi
Easter is celebrated around the world, but Greeks usually observe it later (see why here) and it’s actually called Pascha, the word which means Passover. There are many unique aspects of the Greek Easter celebration.
What makes it so special? Here we ‘ll list only six reasons, but help us fill up the list with your personal Greek Easter experiences in our comments section below.
1. Our villages have real Easter bunnies
Going to the countryside and visiting the old Greek “horio” (village) can be like opening the door to an entirely different world. Open spaces, ancient traditions, animals roaming around freely, and happy people following their own pace in life. Actually, we discovered that that’s where the real Easter bunny lives, and we have proof!
2. Participating in the Holy week rituals
The entire country is a big community united by the many Easter celebrations. There is a whole week of church liturgies and services leading to up to Easter Sunday, making Holy week truly unique.
Dyeing red eggs, the coming together of the local churches at the center of the city on Great Friday (Epitaphios), the festive celebration of Christ’s resurrection (Anastasi) on Saturday night, and so many more.
3. Getting surprised every year by the weather
Experience snow and sun at the same time! The sun might be strong enough to tempt us to dive into the sea… or it could feel cold enough to send us skiing and make us want to cuddle up next to the fireplace!
Sometimes, you get the best of both worlds — sun and warmth in the city and snow on the mountains. Where else can you experience such a total antithesis of seasons in April?
4. Enjoying nature at its best
Everything in Greece smells like spring at Eastertime, and there is an unbelievable plethora of colors in the landscape everywhere you look! Nothing compares to the sweet scent of flowers after a long winter, and their beautiful colors are a feast for the eyes.
Even in the big city of Athens, the bitter orange (nerantzies) and lemon trees lining the streets are full of delicate white flowers and juicy fruits.
5. Being a part of the biggest celebration of the year
Easter Sunday rocks! An all-day feast where the whole family comes together roasting the lamb, eating, drinking, dancing, and celebrating till the sun goes down. No health and safety laws telling us we can’t grill a whole lamb in our garden, or freaked-out neighbors calling the police to report suspicious, cannibalistic activity (veganism and Greeks are about as far apart as it gets).
6. It’s a global Greek celebration (Hollywood Stars included)
And while celebrating Greek Easter in Greece is an amazing experience, the eight million Greeks of the Diaspora, including their Greek-by-affiliation friends, celebrate Pascha in the exact same way all around the world.
Greeks in the US, Australia, Canada, Africa and even as far away as Korea and Japan are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and keeping their Greek traditions and culture alive. Even many Hollywood stars celebrate Greek Easter. In fact, Tom Hanks often carries the Epitaphios at Saint Sophia Church in Los Angeles on Holy Friday!
-A very Happy Easter to everyone! Kali Anastasi!
And don’t forget to share your Greek Easter experiences in our comments section below.