Greek Easter is a time of great importance and celebration for Greeks worldwide. The holiday has been celebrated for thousands of years and combines both Christian and ancient Greek traditions.
Leading up to Easter Sunday, the 40-day period of Lent is observed, during which we fast and abstain from certain foods. This is a time of reflection and preparation. At The Real Greek, we offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes to honour this tradition, including our hot or cold mezze, like Houmous, Yellow Fava, Gigandes with Spinach, Dolmades, Fried Kalamari, Grilled Octopus with Fava and so much more.
On Great Thursday, Greeks dye eggs red, symbolizing the blood of Christ and the renewal of life. The eggs are then used in a game of cracking, where two people tap their eggs together, and the one whose egg remains uncracked is the winner!
Holy Saturday is a significant day in Greek Easter celebrations. The Anastasi service is held at midnight, and the Resurrection of Christ is celebrated. This is a joyous occasion that is marked by the lighting of candles with the Holy Light – the flame is directly and ceremonially flown in from Jerusalem – the ringing of bells and fireworks. After this, the Lent is officially over and families gather to eat the famous Easter lamb soup, Mageiritsa and start smashing their red eggs!
Easter Sunday is a day of happiness, love, and joy. It is traditional to roast a lamb on the spit, symbolizing the sacrifice of Christ. Families and friends gather together to enjoy the feast, which always includes more red egg smashing and tsoureki, a sweet bread made with orange zest, mastic and mahlepi.
Many of the Easter traditions that Greeks follow today, have their roots in ancient times when people celebrated the arrival of spring. The lamb, in particular, has long been associated with the holiday and was originally sacrificed in the Passover festival.
Greek Easter is a time of rich cultural and religious significance, marked by fasting, reflection, and joyous celebration. The traditions and customs associated with the holiday are an important part of Greek heritage and are cherished by Greeks worldwide.
All of us at The Real Greek wish you a Happy Easter, or as we say in Greek, Kalo Pascha!