Greek Easter is magic. Being in this country for an Easter is a feast for your soul and your stomach!
|Decorations have been on sale for weeks|
Since we arrived more than a month ago the signs of Easter's arrival have been appearing in both homes and businesses. Medical appointments, work projects, meetings and other activities requiring a set date have been scheduled before or after "Easter Week" because that is when all focus and activities turn to the holiday.
|Easter vendor booths line Kalamata's pedestrian street|
The celebrations in Greece begin two months before Easter with Mardi Gras, Carnival Apokria, which ends on Shrovetide Sunday.
|Decorated white candles to be used on Easter Eve services were on sale|
That is followed by Kathara Deftera, or Clean Monday (Ash Monday) which is a festival day in itself. Then comes Lent and . . .
Then Comes Easter. . .
Early this last week our nearby villages were a bustle of activity as finishing touches were being added to businesses that were reopening having been in hibernation all winter. New paint, flower planters suddenly bursting with blooms - all was made ready for Easter; a time that also seems to kick off the beginning of tourist season as well.
At midday on Good Friday a slow, mournful tolling of the village church bell in Agios Nikolaos seemed to start the weekend - it was such a sad, s-l-o-w chime that it seemed designed to match the footfalls to the cross on that long-ago day in Jerusalem. It was such a haunting sound that it gave you goose bumps . . .whether a believer or not! Greek flags are flown at half staff that day, including on government buildings, to mark Christ's crucifixion.
|The Bier awaits the Processional on Good Friday|
Saturday night, however, we joined the hundreds who turned out for the midnight (closer to 11:30 p.m.) service and lighting of the white candles from the single candle, the Holy Light, that was lit by the village Papas, Priest, to signify the Resurrection. (It is said if you make it home and your candle is still lit you will have good luck.)
'Christos Aneste! - Christ is Risen!' calls the Papas
'Alithos Anesti! - Truly He is Risen!' - comes the Response
And it was time to light the candles. . .and set off the fireworks.
Then came the feasting on Sunday. . .
|The smell of roasting lambs filled the air in villages throughout the valley|
|Traditional red eggs on the table|
|So much food we had to use chairs - this doesn't show all the food that came to the table|
I couldn't help but note that while traditions are strong in Greece, technology -- as it is everywhere - is now a part of life.
|Cell phones and candles - tradition and technology|
|A family's feast - and a selfie or two to remember it all!|
Yes, Easter Monday, is a much needed day of rest for everyone. It's a day filled with wonderful memories and a chance to start anticipating next year's festivities.
If you were among those celebrating this weekend, a big Kala Pasha! to you. And to all of you, thanks for again being with us. We appreciate your time and wish you happy travels~
Linking up this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration