Easter once again, ladies and gents. A much-beloved holiday for every fellow Greek. After 40 days of fasting (adopting a vegan diet because of the orthodox dogma for a period of 40 days) it’s finally time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
Easter in Greece is always sunny
Every Greek that respects their nationality takes that part seriously! No, of course, I don’t mean the fasting part. Most of us can’t even follow a “strict” diet for like a week, let alone a month. Buuut the Easter celebration is another story. At Easter-Sunday every Greek remembers all of a sudden that they’re orthodox and that they need to celebrate their religion.
This particular Sunday is meant for countryside or backyard gatherings, lots of food and alcohol, traditional music and dancing in a circle. But let’s take the things from the start.
On Sunday morning the dad-gang gathers around to start with the lamp-skewering. By dad-gang I’m referring to the grill-masters. The dominant males of the family who know EVERYTHING about meat, which is, turning the spit every once in a while and if you’re feeling extra also applying some oil on top of it. And trust me, that’s something you achieve with a lot of hard work!!! You don’t just get the grill-master title, just because you happen to own a spatula, you have to earn it!
So the guys in the garden start grilling, accompanied themselves by some tsipouro, ouzo or retsina-cola (traditional drinks), appetizers (enough to lose their appetite for the real lunch) and traditional music to cheer up. Alcohol at 9.00 AM you might ask. What’s wrong with the time, I’ll have to reply. It is always a good time to drink some tsipouro! After all, it works better than coffee in terms of waking you up.
Meanwhile, usually, the women are in the kitchen (yeah I know highly stereotypical) to prepare the side dishes and the salads for the lunch, which always ends up being just decorative since everyone prefers to devour the lamb meat.
After the preparations, is finally time for the real deal. Every proper Easter-lunch starts with the egg cracking. Everyone gets a boiled red egg in their hand and they start competing with one another to find the winner with the best egg, while also saying the phrases “Christ has truly risen”, “He truly has (risen)”, to one another.
Panagia Hozoviotissa monastery in Amorgos
The day passes by with everyone feeling like they’re going to explode from such a quantity of food, with lots of dancing in circles under the tones of traditional songs, with that one extremely drunk relative who thinks he is funny and with the smell of roasted meat all over the place (obviously you need a bath afterward).
Similarities with the Czech Easter
Easter holiday is pretty different in these two countries, but both nations have the tradition to color eggs. Greeks usually color them red, while Czechs prefer to decorate them with watercolors and bee’s wax, but also onion peels and stickers.
And there’s also the admiration of the lamp. Greeks eat it a lot this day, while Czechs prepare lamp shaped cakes instead.
However, this Easter won’t be the same as usual in the Czech Republic since people need to stay home and keep social distance due to the coronavirus restrictions.
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Photo source: @daikoumaria