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Greek Easter Customs

The Greeks are known allover the world for their profound belief in ancient customary rituals and norms. And when it comes to observance of Easter, special Greek Easter customs are followed through out to make the occasion more auspicious. Varied customs on Greek Easter are observed beginning with Holy Thursday when the traditional Easter bread known as tsoureki, is baked, and eggs are dyed in red color. Moreover, the festival is also an indication of the arrival of the bountiful season of spring. As Easter is a
moveable holiday feast, it usually falls on the first Sunday after the full moon of the spring equinox. The Greek Orthodox Church does not celebrate Easter on the same date as their Catholic and Protestant counterparts, mainly because of the fact that the Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar while calculating the actual day of Easter.
Unique Greek Easter customs like decorating of Easter Eggs in red color is a major attraction because Greeks believe that in Christianity, the egg is a symbol of Resurrection, representing the emergence of Christ from His tomb to eternity. According to Greek religious beliefs, every Sunday is dedicated to the Resurrection of the Lord. Customary Greek Easter rituals however begins with Clean Monday or Kathara Deftera as known in Greek terms, the first day of Megali Sarakosti, the season of Great Lent on the seventh Monday before
Easter, because it marks the beginning of the season of fast. While on Lazarus Saturday, children visit each house of their locality singing the hymn of "Lazaros" and collecting money and eggs. Traditional Greek Easter celebrations are marked on Good Friday as a day of mourning. On this day soup made with sesame-paste, lettuce or lentils with vinegar is eaten in marked respect to the death of Christ. Vesper evening on Good Friday is followed by the procession of the catafalque, band of chorus, choirmasters and clergymen. The actual Greek Easter festive customs remains incomplete without mouthwatering dishes accompanied by midnight service on Holy Saturday and lighting of huge bonfires in the churchyard.

Thus, these varied Greek Easter customs add the much needed enthusiasm to this festive occasion.

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