..Easter is celebrated worldwide but is of particular significance in the Orthodox religion. It is full of ancient customs and traditions people hold to this day, making it a unique experience, worth experiencing. It all usually culminates on Easter Sunday with a family feast that starts early and goes on till late in the evening. Including the cooking of lamb, kokoretsi, and other delicacies. Easter is celebrated all over the country and is revered as a family celebration due to it being considered the most significant time in the Greek Orthodox Church.
Many of the Greek Easter customs are “area-specific” meaning they are celebrated in certain parts of the country only. However, some have become a spectacle attracting visitors from up and down the country as well as foreign worshippers that enjoy the festivities.
With this in mind, Easter is equally celebrated by Greeks worldwide. It is marked as a special day in the calendars from the start of the year. As such, we thought we’d compile a list of just some traditional ways Greeks celebrate Easter globally.
Baking & Tsoureki Making
As food is naturally entwined with almost everything Greeks do, baking is equally a big part of Easter Traditions. As such, it is common for the family to gather on the Thursday before Holy Sunday and bake a delicious sweet Easter bread, called Tsoureki. This is eaten on Easter as the three braids of the bread represent the Holy Trinity. Although many Greeks do tend to sell and eat it throughout the year. The tsoureki tends to also have a cross cut into it or even a red egg in the middle. Tsoureki is something you can also find in bakeries and of course, through The Greek Deli, by clicking here. This is also when the eggs are dyed in red, and other colours ready for Anastasi!!! You can also order your dye, directly from The Greek Deli, by clicking here.
Anastasi & Midnight Church
Anastasi, which translates as “Resurrection” is celebrated at exactly 0000a on Saturday. Just before midnight, people go to churches, which are full to bursting point. This can be seen up and down the country whilst with people holding candles, also known as lambades. Then follows a festival of light that is a true delight as at midnight the church goes dark and the bells ring out to proclaim Christ’s resurrection. At this point, people start cheering and letting off fireworks and crackers! People will then start hugging each other and wishing one another “Hristos Anesti”. Meaning “Christ has risen” whilst replying “Alithos”, meaning “Indeed, he did!”. Anastasi is a truly majestic event worth experiencing at least once in your life, no matter the religion.
Egg Cracking – Tsougkrisma
At this point, everyone heads home to “crack the eggs” which have already been dyed, as mentioned above, in a variety of beautiful colours but usually red. Then the egg cracking resumes! One cracks their chosen egg on top of another’s chosen eggs on both sides, saying “Christos Anesti”. The other one responds, “Alithos Anesti” until there is only one strong egg standing. The person with that egg, is said to have luck on his side, all year long.
Magiritsa, a unique Greek soup, is eaten to break the fast of the Greek Orthodox Great Lent, the 40 days before Easter. Prepared on Holy Saturday along with the next day’s lamb, magiritsa is consumed immediately after the midnight Divine Liturgy. This dish contains the offal of the lamb just before it is roasted, along with some green vegetables (lettuce, dill and onion) boiled together.
Easter Sunday & Lamb
Greeks follow the Holy Week rites in commemoration of the Passion of Christ and celebrate His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Everyone wakes up early to help with cooking, preparations and invite all family members round to the one with the largest garden. Families then gather to roast the lamb on a spit and then enjoy a long lunch with lots of meat, potatoes, salads and drinks, which lasts for several hours.
If you are looking to celebrate Easter this year, how it deserves to be celebrated, we are here to help. From egg dyes and tsoureki to all the condiments you need for the perfect Easter Sunday, visit our website today for more information at www.thegreekdeli.com.
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The Greek Deli stocks artisanal products, including tsoureki, egg dyes, olive oils, wines, cheeses, and mezedes. In addition, ready meals (such as pastitsio and gemista), sweets (such as baklava and kourabiedes), and Greek coffee (Loumidis) can be found in our online shop. We even stock beloved Greek chocolates and cookies. With brands such as Lacta, Ion, Sokofreta, and Gemista cookies, as well as an impressive selection of Greek wines. Gift boxes can be purchased and are available to be customized with your favorite products or pre-made. One box includes extra virgin olive oil, two bottles of wine, two jars of olive paste, roasted peppers, honey, chilies, and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for sending the best of Greek tastes to a distant beloved!).
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