A life experience of a Polish girl on the Greek island of Crete.

Polka pisze wiec po polsku tez bedzie…

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Greek Pasha is what Easter is all about

I would risk a statement that there is no other as important celebration in the Greek orthodox tradition as Pasha (Πάσχα/ Easter). Big event people, very big! It is good to visit Greece then, especially its islands.  

This is when the Greeks from all over the world return to their villages to sit at the table with the whole family, break some red painted eggs, nibble on kaltzounia (καλτσούνια/ tiny pies stuffed with goat cheese or spinach or mixed combination of both) and roast a lamb.

It starts a week before the grand finale of Resurrection and ends almost a week after the eggs and lamb were eaten. 

Everybody greets you by saying KALO PASHA (Κάλο Πάσχα/Happy Easter) or KALI ANASTASTI (Καλή Ανάσταση/ Happy Resurrection). 

From early in the morning on Great Friday, crowds gather in the church to visit and decorate with flowers the Tomb of Christ so called EPITAPHIOS (επιτάφιος). In the evening, the tomb is taken out of the church to be walked around and cherished by the masses that either follow or stand in the streets mesmerized by this sublime moment. Then everybody goes out…people are dressed up, coffee bars are full. You can feel the atmosphere of forthcoming summer and tourist season that will take full swing right after the Easter is over.

Saturday is the last day of Great Lent. People cook traditional soup MAGERITSA (μαγειρίτσα – soup made of lamb hearts, lamb and calf liver, spiced with lemon juice and served with rice) that will be eaten after the midnight mass when candles (in Greek λαμπάδες/lambades) are lit and the doll symbolizing Judas Iscariot is burnt (I’m still impressed how they manage to set such huge fire on the little square surrounded by people’s houses – check the below movie!)

Finally the traitor is gone, first bites of meat are taken and then…. the party begins. Sunday is definitely not a good time for vegetarians. Food, lots of food and meat! Back to the regular “Greek “diet…

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