Religious devoutness, return to the roots, tasting splendid dishes like lamb on a spit and cracking red eggs are just some of Greece’s traditions that make Easter, one of the most joyful period of the year.
Everywhere in Greece, the faithful welcome Easter with special reverence and deep emotion. There are, however, certain places in Greece where the local customs and traditions making them some of the most popular destinations during Easter.
Let us explore some of these places
Easter on Corfu, the island of the Phaeacians
The Corfiots revive every year their old Easter customs, a mosaic of different traditions that are directly linked to the island’s history and multicultural character. The Christian Orthodox faith, the traditions of the Catholic community, the Venetian influence and the Corfiots’ cheerful disposition, make for a unique ritual that is worth experiencing at least once.
On Holy Saturday, at 6am at the church of “Madonna of foreigners”, an artificial “earthquake” is created to represent the earthquake during the resurrection, according to the Holy Bible. Later on, the passage of the Epitaph of the church of Saint Spiridon takes place. At 11am the church bells ring joyfully, marking the first Resurrection! Large clay pitchers with red ribbons and filled with water, are thrown out of the decorated balconies, causing deafening sounds and waves of enthusiasm in the crowd.
Holy Week on the island of Revelation
Old customs, dating back to the New Testament, revive every Easter in Patmos, with the focus being the Holy Monastery of Saint John the theologian in Chora. One of the island’s most famous custom is “The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet” on Maundy Thursday, the reenactment of the Deposition from the Cross on Good Friday, the church service on Holy Saturday evening and the “Liturgy of Love” on Easter Sunday afternoon in the Monastery of St. John, During this liturgy, which is dedicated to the Second Resurrection, while the Gospel of the Resurrection is read in seven different languages such as Italian, French, Russian, Serbian.
Holy Saturday in Leonidio. The night of the hot air balloons
Experience a unique Easter celebration in Leonidio, where for a century now, the impressive custom of the hot air balloons takes place, lighting up the dark Arcadian sky every year. According to the custom, the town’s five parishes compete for who will fly the most balloons. No one is absolutely sure about the custom’s origin. According to a popular theory, it dates back to local sailors who, as they traveled across the globe, were fascinated by an equivalent Asian tradition and decided to bring it to Greece.
Celebrate Easter in a castle town
The medieval state of Monemvasia offers a unique experience on Holy Friday with the Epitaph litany that takes place in the town’s cobbled streets. The chanting resonates in the rock creating a devout ambiance. The people follow the procession that seems to embrace the beautiful castle, holding white candles and chanting the epitaph lament. The blossoming bougainvilleas and the moon playing with the sea seem to be part of the procession.