Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easter comes but . . .twice . . .this year!

After meshing use of those frequent flier miles with Greek weather forecasts – and the travel plans of English friends – this spring’s Big Birthday trip is looking like reality. 

And one of the best parts of this upcoming adventure is that we will be there for Greek Orthodox Easter, May 5th. 

We’ll celebrate the holiday twice – once at home on March 31st and again five weeks later in Greece -- where this  more-important-than-Christmas celebration will undoubtedly trump those  in the Pacific Northwest. 

We were introduced to Greek Easter a few years ago on the Greek island of Mykonos. . .

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It was an oft-times overcast, rainy weekend.


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A time when cold, blustery winds  introduced the blue skies that made but cameo appearances. So cold, I wore the silk long johns that I (now) routinely pack for any spring or fall European trip.

But it would take more than Mother Nature’s cold shoulder to detract from the magic of being on the Greek island and watching their holiday preparations. 

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On Easter Saturday while we  aimlessly strolled the narrow walkways past iconic blue shutters framed in brilliant blossoms. . .

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. . .there was a crescendo of  preparations taking place. Scenes like the one at this small bakery were being played throughout the town.  Dyed eggs – blood red - were delivered by the crate while dough was kneaded and then twirled and twisted  for the  Easter biscuits.

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The red color symbolizes the blood of Christ and the egg itself, rebirth.  Custom dictates it is the first food eaten after fasting (although we suspect that might not be the case these days).
 
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Returning to our hotel, we found this basket with Easter biscuits and eggs had been placed in our room.
To eat the eggs, according to tradition, they should be cracked, big end to big end or small to small.  As the cracking takes place, one person says, “Christos Anesti!” and the other replies, “Alithos Anesti!”  (Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!)

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We’ll tell you more about Greek Easter celebrations after  this year’s. We plan to be on Crete’s southern coast , most likely in Loutro, for this holiday.

Jeff SigerWant to know more about these two Easter celebrations? I’m including  this link to an excellent explanation written by novelist Jeffrey Siger    (He lives on Mykonos a good part of each year and his first four murder mysteries are set in the Cycladic Islands of which Mykonos is a part.)

And this is our contribution to Travel Photo Thursday – head to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and tales.   If you’ve not yet ‘liked’ TravelnWrite’s Facebook page, click this link to do so! We’d appreciate it.

30 comments:

  1. Greece is on my "must visit" list. I love those windmills and the flower pots on the window sills. I enjoy experiencing traditions in other countries. Enjoy your holiday and the BIG birthday! and have a great week.

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    1. Just be forewarned once you go there. . .you'll just keep wanting to return!

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  2. I have been to Mykonos ages ago. It was off season and we sat with the fishermen in a Taverna and shared green beans in oil and something fishy, maybe octopus. A magic time. Enjoy your second Greek Easter in Crete. Love the windmills.

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    1. What a perfect memory of Greece! It is a setting for some magic times!

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  3. Well done and enjoy! The Cyclades are wonderful - thanks for the reminder to one day visit Mykonos.

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    1. Thanks Bob! And yes, Mykonos is definately worth a visit.

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  4. What a fabulous time of the year to be in Greece! I love your photos from Mykanos. I'll be very interested to read about Loutro...I'm looking for a small town on one of the smaller islands to visit later in the year!

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    1. Jenny - you would absolutely love Loutro. . .hopefully my reports will entice you to go there.

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  5. I would never think of Greece being anything other than perfect in May. Lucky you going back to give it a second chance. It sounds like an interesting time to visit.

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    1. Our Easter in Mykonos was in April - so it was early in the season. As Jeff Siger wrote, it is interesting to see how the date is set each year. This year luckily it is much later so hopefully we will have some good weather.

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  6. What a great Easter celebration! It would be wonderful to experience Easter in a different country.

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    1. We are looking forward to it and this time plan to stay awake long enough to attend the midnight services which are really quite spectacular sounding!

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  7. What a great experience to enjoy Easter twice! Love the pictures and the traditions. One of these days...I'll make it to the Greek islands. I look forward to your Greece posts this year.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Mary . . .I'll keep those posts coming as long as we find internet access!

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  8. Sounds like so much fun to be able to celebrate Orthodox Easter in Greece! We spent a day on Mykonos on a cruise and loved it - my younger daughter and I got hopelessly lost wandering those streets!

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    1. Getting lost is so easy to do on those wonderfully small winding streets, but you never stay 'lost' too long as they all ultimately lead to the sea, don't they?

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  9. Loved hearing about these traditions - thanks for sharing - never have seen red dyed eggs.....

    Thank you for linking up this week!

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    1. My pleasure Rebecca - love being part of Friday Daydreamin'.

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  10. So pleased to find you! I'm greek, Myconos is one of the most amazing places in the world,Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures and experiences.
    Olympia

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting and for stopping by today. I just visited your blog and will soon be a follower of it. Hope you'll be a follower here as well! Jackie

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  11. I love the photo of the blossoms with the white and blue in the background...what kind of tree is that?

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    1. Bougainvillea, is the answer. The bright red blossoms framed so many, many scenes on this island. And they do grow as large as trees here. Thanks for stopping by Evan!

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  12. I guess I never knew that the Greek Orthodox Christmas was more important than Chritmas even. Interesting to read & see some of the customs there. You are going to have one awesome birthday!

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  13. I decided to celebrate the arrival of the 60th year starting early so yes, it is already an awesome birthday and I can only imagine some of the adventures waiting for this 'senior'!

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  14. Hi Jackie...what wonderful traditions and how great that you will get to experience them again this year!

    (Chrome will still not let me comment on Blogger platform blogs, sigh!!)

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    1. Thanks for your diligence in continuing to comment. I had no responses when I posed the 'what's wrong' question on our mutually-followed FB page and I don't even try turning to Google for help. . .sorry, it isn't working.

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  15. I didn't realize that the Greek Orthodox church had a different Easter. The contrast between the crimson red eggs and the bread is quite striking. I look forward to reading about your trip.

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    1. The weird thing is: sometimes it falls on the same day and other times, like this year, it is significantly later. Jeff Siger did a great explanation of it - check out the link to his article.

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