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Celebrating Greek Easter

Celebrating Greek Easter

Celebrating Greek Easter

Keep in mind that the date of Greek or Orthodox Easter is still calculated on the Julian calendar, which is some 13 days behind the more modern Gregorian calendar. Greek Orthodox Easter should fall on the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the spring or vernal equinox.

Tips:

  • Take some time to learn the meanings and traditions behind the ceremonies surrounding Greek Orthodox Easter. This may help to add some new life to your family's celebration.
  • Greet your guests at the door with the words, "Christ is risen."
  • Repeat "Christ is risen" as you tap your neighbor's eggs, and your neighbor may respond with, "Indeed, he is risen." The cracking of the egg is intended to symbolize Christ breaking out of his tomb after he rises from the dead.

Steps:

  1. Find a Greek, Eastern or Orthodox Christian church near you and attend services during Holy Week. Holy Week is the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday, during which special ceremonies are performed to symbolize Christ's journey to the cross, his death and his ultimate resurrection.
  2. Invite your friends and family to join your Greek Easter celebration and start planning your menu accordingly. Traditionally, lamb is the main dish, eaten to symbolize the Biblical sacrificial lamb.
  3. Serve appropriate accoutrements. Common side dishes may include Greek salad with feta cheese, roasted peppers and tomatoes with feta cheese, Greek Easter egg bread, margeiritsa soup, and wine, to name a few.
  4. Toast the gathering as you sit down at the dinner table. Ouzo, a Greek liqueur, usually accompanies this toast, but many people may find Champagne more to their liking.
  5. Pass a loaf of bread - Easter egg bread, if you prefer - from which everyone pulls off a piece for dinner. This symbolizes the original breaking of the bread that Jesus shared with his disciples.
  6. Give everyone a colored Easter egg after dinner. Have your guests tap their neighbors' eggs until everyone's egg is cracked; the person whose egg cracks last is said to be destined to receive good fortune for the coming year.
  7. Play Greek music and teach your relatives and friends a traditional Greek dance such as Tsamikos.
  8. Pray together. Giving thanks to God is an important part of any Greek Easter celebration.
  9. Have a good time and "Kalo Pascha!"

Warnings:

Like any holiday, celebrations differ among cultures, and even different households have their own traditions and rituals.

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