Religious tourism report: Greeks celebrate Easter with timeless traditions

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Religious tourism report: Greeks celebrate Easter with timeless traditionsMany of the Greek Easter customs are particular to the region and they are spectacular

Easter in Greece is full of old traditions and customs, followed faithfully throughout decades or even centuries, making the season a colorful one amid the mourning for the Passion of Christ.

Many of the Easter customs are particular to the region and may seem peculiar to other parts of Greece, yet they are exciting and crucial for locals.

Easter celebrations on the islands

In Heraklion, on the island of Crete , Easter feasting is not only for the living, but for the dead as well.

On Holy Friday, Cretans start preparations to dine with their dearly departed on Easter Monday — this peculiar feast takes place in the local cemetery. 

On Easter Monday people visit the graveyards bearing food and wine to the burial sites which have already been prepared and decorated.

Relatives and friends of the deceased go to the cemetery and have lunch including traditional dishes and sweets as well as exchange greetings. In this way, they believe they are honoring the memory of their dead and spreading the message of Christ’s Resurrection.

On the Greek island of Chios the locals of Vrontados village literally go to war upon the Rise of Christ at midnight on Holy Saturday. The ‘war’ is between two local churches where opposing parishioners fire thousands of homemade firecracker rockets at each other, while the more pious attend the Resurrection liturgy inside the two churches.

The objective is to hit the bell tower of the church located on the other side. The rockets are wooden sticks loaded with an explosive mixture containing gunpowder and launched from grooved platforms.

On the Greek islands of Kythnos and Lesvos a swing is crafted in the main square on Easter Sunday, where girls and boys dressed in traditional costumes get on to sway. If someone sways the swing, then they pledge before God and man to marry the one sitting on the swing.

On Corfu island, every Easter locals revive the old tradition of “botides”, a special type of clay pots. After the First Resurrection, which takes place in the island’s Metropolitan church, the bells of all churches begin to toll and people start throwing thousands of botides filled with water and laurel from their windows.

The botides crash on the road with a strong bang, which in combination with the water and laurel is supposed to chase “evil” away. Furthermore, the day is filled with music from the island’s numerous bands that march around the city center playing joyous songs. The custom alone attracts thousands of Greek tourists each year.

On the picturesque island of Hydra, the Epitaph of the neighborhood of Kamini is blessed after entering the sea waters, while on the island of Zakynthos the priest and locals release white doves from the top of the church and their houses respectively after the first bell rings at midnight on Holy Saturday.

On Folegandros island, the icon of the Assumption is taken from the Church of Agios Georgios and then carried around town for three whole days. The icon procession passes through the homes of all religious people.

On Symi and Astypalaia locals burn the effigy of Judas on Easter Sunday or the day after. The Judas dummy is stuffed with straw and wood and is first paraded around town before it is actually set on fire.

On the island of Patmos, a representation of the Last Supper and the Washing of the Feet occurs in the central square. On Kalymnos on Lazarus Saturday, there is a tradition where the women bake man-shaped cookies, called ‘lazarakia,’ with a head, arms and legs.

Easter celebrations on the Greek mainland

During the Second Resurrection on Easter Sunday evening, in the northeastern towns of Orestiada and Didimoticho the icon of Agia Anastasia is auctioned. The one who bids the most will hold the holy icon while touring around the city in order to bless and protect it from evil.

In the Thrace region in northern Greece, a Judas Iscariot effigy is paraded by children in the streets who ask locals for branches so they can burn him. On Holy Friday, the procession of the Epitaph stops outside a chapel, where the fire is ready to burn Judas. Once the priest begins reading the Gospel, they light the fire and burn the effigy. Later, they take a handful of the ashes and scatter them in the graveyard.

At midnight on Easter Sunday locals of Leonidio in the Peloponnese release hundreds of homemade hot-air balloons, creating a stunning spectacle. The balloons stay in the air for 30 or 40 minutes before they are lost in the sky or blow up.

In Kalamata, also in the Peloponnese, the famous “saitopolemos” custom is observed, stemming from the 1821 Greek War of Independence, and the battles of the Greeks  against the army of Muslim Ibrahim Pasha.

The participants are divided into 10 to 15 teams, each consisting of 15 to 30 people, mainly young boys dressed in traditional costumes and armed with “saites”, cardboard tubes filled with gunpowder which are then lit. The custom is a controversial one because it is rather dangerous.

In the village of Arachova in central Greece, locals celebrate Easter, together with the Agios Georgios name day, a moveable feast which traditionally falls near Easter.

On Easter Sunday, a procession carrying the Agios Georgios icon parades around the village and travels uphill to church. Over 3,000 villagers dressed in colorful local dresses follow the icon procession while dancing troupes entertain the crowd. Simultaneously, they have already prepared pits lit with fire from the Resurrection light candles to roast a lamb over the fire.

Source: Philip Chrysopoulos/greekreporter

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: Jim (talk) License: CC-BY-SA

 

 

Tornos
  1. 23/09 22:59

    Fastest speedboat in the planet routed in Greek islands of Cyclades (video)

  2. 23/09 22:13

    Athens hoteliers blame 'Airbnb-style' stayovers for marginal hike in vacancy rate

  3. 23/09 20:08

    'The Durrells' producer Christopher Hall on filming in Corfu island and cash rebates

  4. 23/09 18:04

    Fraport Greece: Fee rises next year at three upgraded airports

  5. 23/09 14:35

    Athens Flying Week 2018 amazes with spectacular array of performers (video)

  6. 23/09 12:27

    New Muscat-Athens route by Oman Air in 2019

  7. 23/09 10:49

    Early Christian finds above Ancient Pagan Temple at Paphos-Toumballos in Cyprus

  8. 21/09 19:07

    Tourism Tradition: Philoxenia, the ancient roots of Greek hospitality

  9. 21/09 18:53

    Australia’s first recording of hymns from Greek Orthodox tradition released again

  10. 21/09 18:48

    Greek souvlaki joint in Astoria finalist in the 14th Annual Vendy Awards

  11. 21/09 18:35

    Religious Tourism: Miraculous church of Panagia Plataniotissa in Kalavryta

  12. 21/09 15:05

    Greek tourism revenues grow by 17% during first seven months of 2018

  13. 21/09 14:56

    Greek archaeologists accuse government of planning to sell historical sites

  14. 21/09 14:51

    Vivartia announces growth strategy through presence in top tourism spots

  15. 21/09 14:45

    Jewelry exhibition by 34 artists in Athens until October 6

  16. 21/09 14:41

    Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center Renovations funded by Onassis Foundation (video)

  17. 21/09 14:34

    DEAFestival in downtown Athens between September 21-24

  18. 21/09 14:27

    The first Pinball Museum has opened in central Athens

  19. 21/09 13:08

    Brazilian artist Luiz Veloso exhibition in Athens until November 2

  20. 21/09 12:46

    Reworks Festival in Thessaloniki between September 20-23

  21. 21/09 11:40

    Greek Tourism Minister Kountoura concludes visit to Korea

  22. 21/09 10:55

    First Islamic Mosque in downtown Athens nears completion

  23. 20/09 16:30

    Congress in Italy pays homage to "Magna Greece"

  24. 20/09 16:21

    Research: Only Greek yogurt passes the ‘low sugar’ test

  25. 20/09 16:16

    Fraport Hellas presents plan for new airport in Thessaloniki (video)

  26. 20/09 16:04

    Dozens of traditional boats mark Greece’s seafaring heritage in Paros island

  27. 20/09 15:31

    Dozens of Turkish airport workers jailed after protesting over deadly working environment

  28. 20/09 14:55

    Greek diet promoted at Mediterranean Health Expo in Australia

  29. 20/09 14:42

    ‘Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi’ work of art displayed at the Met in New York

  30. 20/09 14:26

    Travel Guide: Rhodes, the Greek Island of Wonders in the Dodecanese

  31. 20/09 14:20

    Μinoan Lines repays syndicated bond loan worth €139.3 million euros

  32. 20/09 14:11

    Visit Greece: Chios, a mastic-scented island with fascinating history

  33. 20/09 13:13

    Survey: Athens is an established holiday destination - the profile of its tourists

  34. 20/09 12:49

    Travel report: Exploring Chania, Greece’s leading summer destination in Crete

  35. 20/09 12:12

    Moralis retrospective exhibition at Benaki Museum of Athens

  36. 20/09 12:00

    Cuba welcomes Greek Cinema Festival after 4 years

  37. 20/09 11:40

    IranHotels.com application online booking website and android app launched

  38. 20/09 10:18

    Final pilot of SENSKIN infrastructure sensor on Egnatia Motorway bridge this Friday

  39. 20/09 09:47

    Survey: 45% of young Greek migrants living abroad want to return back home

  40. 19/09 23:33

    Trivago business report: The top Hotel amenities to attract every type of traveler

  41. 19/09 23:27

    Enterprise Greece: Foreign investors have their eyes on tourism infrastructure

  42. 19/09 23:14

    Athens Animation Agora to take place this weekend at Onassis Foundation

  43. 19/09 23:06

    Athens University Medical School in top 150 NTU global rankings

  44. 19/09 22:57

    Greek and Qatari foreign ministers agree to enhance bilateral cooperation

  45. 19/09 22:49

    Condé Nast International to launch Vogue Greece edition

  46. 19/09 20:31

    ‘Polyxeni’ film submitted for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

  47. 19/09 20:01

    New York University plants roots in Greece with Athens Center

  48. 19/09 19:25

    First private High School specializing on maritime education on Greek island of Hios

  49. 19/09 18:17

    WindEurope: Greek wind power to achieve a 50% surge by 2022

  50. 19/09 18:11

    Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria to air on September 26 on WNET Channel 13

  51. 19/09 17:10

    Piraeus port council approves energy program for street lighting

  52. 19/09 16:20

    English rock band The Cure to perform in Greece after 14 years (video)

  53. 19/09 15:55

    TRAINOSE aims to make the railway top choice for Athens-Thessaloniki transport

  54. 19/09 14:45

    Greek-American Pulitzer Prize winning author Jeffrey Eugenides to visit Greece

  55. 19/09 13:43

    Attica Region launches new and improved website for visitors of Athens

  56. 19/09 13:29

    Grace Santorini and Fouka Bay win MR&H Top Mediterranean Resort Award 2018

  57. 19/09 12:34

    Real estate report: Abandonded shack on Greek island of Skopelos sold for € 1 million

  58. 19/09 10:24

    Subsidies for unleaded petrol and diesel on Greek islands to start in October

  59. 18/09 23:08

    Deadline to register income and properties from 'Airbnb' style rentals in Greece

  60. 18/09 22:58

    Nammos beach bar on Greek island of Mykonos expands to Dubai

  61. 18/09 22:48

    Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey says “Greece is Paradise” (video)

  62. 18/09 22:18

    Turkish Airlines marks 85th anniversary with new cabin crew uniform

  63. 18/09 22:11

    Impressive Russian frigate docks at Greek island of Poros (video)

  64. 18/09 21:52

    8,9% more Cypriot residents travelled abroad this August

  65. 18/09 21:31

    Record tourist arrivals in Cyprus during August 2018

  66. 18/09 21:04

    8 top reasons to add Greek yogurt to your daily diet

  67. 18/09 20:46

    First underwater gallery on "Big Blue" Amorgos island

  68. 18/09 18:38

    Eros Ramazzotti show in Athens Riviera on September 27

  69. 18/09 17:50

    Traditional Boat Regatta on Greek island of Chios enchants spectators (video)

  70. 18/09 16:02

    Federation of Business Information Service AGM and conference in Athens

  71. 18/09 15:52

    Marketing Greece: New campaign showcasing the beauty of Crete island

  72. 18/09 15:21

    Standard & Poor’s raises again Cyprus into Investment Grade

  73. 18/09 15:16

    Homage to renowned Greek artist Halepas in Athens until October 13

  74. 18/09 14:38

    New UNWTO Report assists cities manage impact of overtourism

  75. 18/09 13:07

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister meets with Canadian ambassador Dion

  76. 18/09 12:56

    Leonard Cohen tribute at Athens Concert Hall on September 21

  77. 18/09 11:47

    Greece and Russia celebrate 190 years of diplomatic ties

  78. 18/09 10:18

    "Face Forward" interactive art project on Crete island until October 14

  79. 17/09 23:04

    Greek Tourism Minister meets South Korean counterpart

  80. 17/09 22:54

    Egnatia motorway, Alexandroupolis and Kavala ports on Greek privatization agency's priority list

  81. 17/09 22:50

    Thessaloniki International Fair attracted around 284,000 visitors in September 8-16

  82. 17/09 22:34

    Fourni becomes the first independent energy community on the Greek islands

  83. 17/09 22:27

    Minoan Lines inaugurates new sea route from Souda in Crete to Piraeus Port

  84. 17/09 22:07

    Hospitalitynet report: How can Artificial Intelligence boost hotel experience

  85. 17/09 20:51

    ‘Let’s Go Greek’ festival amazes Sydney

  86. 17/09 20:16

    Greece to re-examine safety in seven famous beaches of Ionian Sea

  87. 17/09 19:46

    €95 million upgrade of Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport to commence this week

  88. 17/09 16:41

    Grivalia Properties purchases 49% stake in Piraeus Port Plaza 2

  89. 17/09 15:15

    €1.11 billion offered for 20-year extension of Athens Airport concession agreement

  90. 17/09 15:07

    Short Film Festival in northern Greek city of Drama

  91. 17/09 14:02

    NYSPCC 2018 Food and Wine gala on November 6

  92. 17/09 13:48

    Greek President inaugurates 6th annual "Athens Democracy Forum"

  93. 17/09 13:15

    Bronze age structures revealed by excavations at Erimi-Laonin of Porakos in Cyprus

  94. 17/09 12:01

    Wellness Tourism report: Greek bliss on your yoga mat

  95. 17/09 10:28

    Tranio: Greece offers the cheapest Golden Visa program with €250,000 only

  96. 16/09 20:42

    Trump imposes tariffs on about $200 billion more in Chinese products

  97. 16/09 16:25

    Lee Ranaldo free concert in Athens Niarxos Cultural Center on September 18

  98. 16/09 14:01

    Greece to host European Sea Scouting Seminar Eurosea in 2020

  99. 16/09 13:57

    Greek railways to upgrade its services and train stations

  100. 16/09 13:50

    Agios Emilianos in Peloponnese Riviera offers stunning resorts and villas (video)