Sunday, 15 April 2012

Xristos Anesti!

Xristos Anesti everyone! Christ has risen! Yep, Greek Easter is 'different' this year - we run on our own schedule! Yesterday I informed you of the Epitafio and what that entailed on Friday night, well now I will lead you through Saturday and Sunday's events!

So Saturday morning, most Greeks are up at the crack of dawn for 2 reasons. One is to get to the butchers at stupid o'clock to get the best meat for the feast on Sunday (and there will forever be queues outside until the last scrap of meat is sold)
and the second reason is to go to Church again. What we do this time, is get cleansed by the blood and body of Christ. So before even eating or drinking anything that morning, we all queue up, kiss the Epitafio (maybe steal a flower or two from it!)
and then meet the Baba (the Priest) who will feed us a spoonful of sweet red wine and give us a blessing. Yep, all of God's (Greek) children share off the same spoon - we make a joke about getting ill haha but of course it's nothing to worry about really! After that, there is a basket of chopped up bits of bread which symbolise Jesus' body, which we are then to eat. Then we are free to go home and eat our breakfast. Many stay for the entire time to hear the service but often Churches cannot accommodate all the people that come by!

There is often some flaouna eating at this point mmm... tasty pastries that only appear this time of the year and all the women of the family will make them by the case load - often running out of oven/storage space in their homes! They then force feed them to family members and demand you tell them whose tastes the best...!

Saturday night - midnight mass. It's time for Church again! Everyone gathers to their church for the moment when Christ rises again. At midnight, all the lights in the church go off and at the stroke of midnight the holy candle is lit. This flame is then passed around until everyone has a candle lit from this holy light.
The challenge is to preserve this flame and take it back to your home without it being blown out, for a special blessing! Of course there is danger of hair being set on fire and wax dripping all over your clothes, shoes and carpet again; health and safety eat your heart out! On the drive home, you can spot the Greeks a mile away with their glowing cars! 

After midnight, we are free to eat whatever we want again, and many take this opportunity to go to the nearest place to find meat! Some have a special feast all ready for when they get home too!

All day Sunday is a day of eating, really! In the morning there is the good old 'egg war' whereby there is a competition to have the winning egg to withstand all the others - there's good luck in it for the winner! Typical Greeks always have a trick up their sleeve to make sure they win though...!
Then there is the big Sunday feast of lamb and anything else you can get your hands on, eating so much that you fall into a meat coma! Easter really is such a great day for us, and the Greek restaurants are happy as well as everyone is eating meat again, opa! Hope you all had a great weekend and Xristos Anesti! 

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