Easter in Chalkidiki
There they sit again, the old men in the villages. They take advantage of warmer weather and sit in front of the kafenions, the cafes, drinking their coffee and playing with the beads of their Komboloi chain between their fingers. Curiously they observe the visitors, who arrive in from Athens and other major cities. Because Easter in Greece is traditionally celebrated in the country with the family, even the Greek from overseas travel to Greece to spend the holidays in their homeland.
The Orthodox Easter is, like the Protestant-Catholic, on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. But because the Orthodox Christians are going with the old Julian calendar, it is usually a little later or earlier.
How the light from Jerusalem reaches the church of St. George from the 18th century
When the Greek patriarch from Jerusalem has lit the holy light, it is said that messengers bring it then everywhere on the world, where orthodox Christians live. According to legend, this will continue to the end of the world - this would however be a logistical major performance. This holy fire arrives first in Athens by airplane. From there it goes to the cities, continues to reach the communities and villages all over Greece and then finally it comes to the churches of Saint Dimitrios and St. George in Ormylia. On the night of Easter Saturday to Easter Sunday, the incense-filled aisles then shine in the candlelight. "Christos anésti!" shouts the priest, Christ is risen! "Alithos anésti!" Truly he is risen, the faithful respond in the midnight mass.
The roles are still old-fashioned: the women are especially busy with Easter preparations. During the Holy Week, eggs are boiled and dyed red, and resurrection candles are bought for the godchildren. Some of the candles are so elaborately decorated that you can spend a small fortune for it. Even the Easter bread has to be baked and the Mageiritsa be prepared - an Easter soup from the innards of lamb.
Palm sunday, Start of the Holy Week:
In memory of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, the churches are decorated with branches. It weaves palm wreaths, which are attached to images of saints and domestic doors.
Good Friday :
On Good Friday, the symbolic holy grave, a wooden frame decorated with with flower garlands and ribbons is carried through the village under the procession under the chants of women dressed in black. On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, the village community meets again at the village square, but now to celebrate and dance. Visitors are welcome of course, particularly at Easter the Greeks show great hospitality.
Holy Saturday (Easter):
The evening Mass on Holy Saturday ends at midnight with a cry of joy, "Christos Anesti" (Christ has risen). The priest takes the Easter candle from the Holy room into the community room,
which the believers use to light their own candle and pass the light on to the next. Depending on the region, a large bonfire is lit, where Judas is burned under the crackle of firecrackers and rockets. People carefully carry the candle flame home to light a little light before the icon, and then on the family table the Magiritsa, made from the entrails of the Easter lamb, the Easter soup is prepared and enjoyed.
On Easter Sunday, when the forty-day fast is over, even in the villages the Orthodox believers dig in: Traditionally a lamb is grilled. And the hard-boiled red eggs are used, although initially not as food. Two opponents hit their eggs against each other, either with sharp or rounded side. "Nose against nose, butt against butt" is the game. Whoever in the end has the most undamaged eggs is said to be lucky until next Easter.
Easter in Greece: An experience for every Christian worldwide. Experience Greece once from its Orthodox side. Be a guest in one of the impressive monasteries and receive the light of the Lord.