Easter in Greece is simply different from anywhere else in the world. As Rita Wilson once famously declared on the subject of Greek Easter: “We don’t do bunnies. We don’t do chocolate. We don’t do pastels. We do lamb, sweet cookies, and deep red.”
There’s the colouring of eggs, mainly in red, the making of sweet tsoureki bread, the decoration and procession of Epitafios and the rich midnight dinner enjoyed after the Resurrection ceremony are just some of the rituals that define Easter in Greece. On Easter Sunday, every household feasts on skewed lamb and other meats with lunches stretching into six-hour long affairs and of course, there is drinking, dancing and much merry-making to conclude the all-day festivities.
Here’s a quick snapshot of a few customs you need to acquaint yourself with to help you celebrate “Pascha” like a local:
If you’re a godparent, the ‘lambada’ selection is a big deal… it usually coincides with the god-child’s favourite football team or Disney character!
Wax-drip cupcake holders
They look like plastic cupcake holders and in case you’re wondering what purpose they serve, it is to prevent hot wax from dripping on to your fancy clothes and shoes.
Join the easter hot shoe shuffle
Shoes were traditionally the most popular of Easter presents, presumably because it was considered as the one big buy that godparents indulged in. Today, shoes have been substituted with the adopted custom of giant chocolate eggs!
Eggs, bums and noses
Na Tsoungrisoume? or ‘Shall we crack them?’ is something you are likely to be asked on the way back from church on Saturday night. In Greece, instead of egg hunts, it is a game of cracking your red egg against someone else’s egg. The strongest, uncracked egg wins! Players get to choose whether they use the pointier side of the egg – the miti (nose) or the wider bottomed side – the popo (bottom).
Be the first to wish ‘Christos Anesti’ (Christ Is Risen in Greek). If you’re wished first, you reply ‘Alithos Anesti,’ (Indeed, He has Risen).
Happy Easter! Kalo Pascha!
Insider Weekly, April 5, 2017.