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Easter in Crete
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TOP EVENTS TO SEE IN CRETE AT EASTER
|Greek Easter usually falls one to five weeks after the western Easter and is celebrated with many local customs and traditions. Easter, Paska, is the most important holiday in Greece, and in the Greek Orthodox Church.|
Megali Evdomada, Holy Week – Various Churches across Crete
Dates: 6th – 12th April
Megali Evdomada, Holy Week, is the week leading up to Easter and is when most of the Greek people take their fasting seriously. Church services are held throughout the week and many Tavernas are closed. Those that stay open will have mostly seafood and vegetable dishes on the offer. A tradition is carried out in which women dye eggs a red colour, symbolising the blood of Christ, and they bake koulourakia’ Easter biscuits and cheese pies ‘kalitsounia’, to be eaten after Easter Saturday when the fast ends.
Megali Paraskevi, Good Friday – Various churches across Crete
Dates: Good Friday, 10th April
Megali Paraskevi, Good Friday, is a day of mourning and the sound of bells can be heard across the Island as churches ring out the death toll – a steady toll of one ring. An evening church service is attended by locals at 7pm, and afterwards at 8.30pm, a subdued procession takes to the streets carrying the epitaph, coffin, with the congregation following behind, traditionally dressed in black. In honour of the ceremonies today, shops normally open between 11am and 3pm, supermarkets 8am – 5pm and many tavernas remain closed.
Megala Sabbato, Easter Saturday – Crete Village
Dates: 11th April
On Easter Saturday it is custom for the children of Crete Village to spend the day preparing a bonfire and an effigy of Judas outside the church to burn after the midnight service. Holy week concludes with the Anastasi, the Ressurection, at midnight and the lighting of the holy flame. Churches across Greece are packed from 11pm onwards for the service and many tavernas open after the service to celebrate the end of the 40-day fasting period, with menus offering meat options and live music provided for entertainment. Shop open hours usually take the same schedule as Good Friday.
Kyriaki tou Paska, Easter Sunday – Crete
Dates: 12th April
Family and friends share in Easter Sunday together as they gather for a big party with a lamb roasted on a spit and indulge in wine, music and plenty of dancing. As the day’s festivities and joyous ceremonies continue and friends or neighbours are hosting an Easter party, you will more than likely be hailed in for a celebratory drink and ‘meze’ with them if you happen to pass by their house. If you have had the pleasure of being invited beforehand, it is not expected that you take anything with you as a token of thanks, but if you really want to please your hosts, take along glyka, cakes or biscuits, these will always be appreciated.
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