Whilst most British Easter’s are spent devouring chocolate eggs and hot-cross buns, some of our European friends celebrate it very differently! This year Jay and I travelled across the Med to stay with a Greek family and see how the Koans (people from Kos!) indulge in the festivities.
We stayed with a very traditional Greek family, who couldn’t have done enough for us; they were incredibly generous, welcoming us with open arms and ensured that we got the full experience of a Greek Easter. The great thing about the way they spend Easter is that the whole family gets involved; from the grandparents to the grandson. It all kicks off on the Thursday of the Greek Holy Week where they paint the eggs from the farm red, to represent the blood of Christ and also as a symbol of life. Red is also recognised as the colour of life, and eggs have been seen as a symbol for the renewal of life; the red eggs are thus a sign of victory over death.
Friday is a day of mourning (for Christ) so everyone goes to Church in black, traditionally people don’t work, speak, smile, cook or eat, basically anything that would bring them happiness or joy. Household chores are also avoided on this day!
On Saturday everyone goes to Midnight Mass and the crowds get so big that people spill out onto the streets. Afterwards, to break the fast, everyone eats Mayiritsa soup, made of Lettuce and Liver, a very traditional soup which breaks the abstinence from meat that started on Holy Thursday. After the soup, everyone grabbed one of the painted red eggs and tried to break everyone else’s. Whoever was left with the unbroken egg carried on with the others with unbroken eggs, the ones that had broken were eaten whilst the game continued!
Easter Sunday was very special, except for the lamb that had been running around the garden. He was barbequed for our dinner! It is very common to grill whole lamb, representing the Lamb of God, and everyone has a delicious big feast!
The great thing about Easter, and other holidays, is that it brings everyone together. Even though the economy is the way it is these families will not stop living life and enjoying it and never forgetting what's important.