Greece, a country with religious easter traditions is where St. Jerome’s grade eleven and twelve students went on for their school trip. These students went on this trip over the Easter break to experience different traditions in the Greek country. Participating in the discussion allowed me to expand my knowledge on Greek traditions. I found out that even though Greece is in a different country, they have some similar Easter traditions like us Canadians as well as numerous different traditions that we do not do during the Easter. It is so interesting to find out their own traditions and see how different we celebrate the holiday!
During Easter, there are lots of candle lighting in the church for someone they care about. The Greek church has a helicopter that comes from military air base in Jerusalem with the first candle that was lit on Easter. The flames then are put all over Greece and after a parade is done after the flame is lit, the stroke of midnight people are standing outside the church. The Tug boat guys hand out candles to everyone but the people don’t cheer when they go up the mountain, they announce christ is risen and light all the candles. All these candles that are handed out to everyone is homemade candles. The challenge is to take the candle back to your house and light one of your own candles. By doing this, it brings good luck to those who do. They will then have a good year.
The official state religion in Greece in the Greek Orthodox church. Similar to Catholic religion, during Easter week except in Greece, people all around town bring flowers to the church on Holy Thursday. They then use the flowers and decorate the bed that they lie Jesus on. Then on Friday, they carry Jesus through the streets in the brier, in which all of the flowers are covering. A brier is the coffin in which Jesus lies in. On the Thursday mass, Priests sing the mass. There are 21 readings that take place on Thursday. Everything that goes on inside the church, you can hear it on the outside with the speakers for the bigger churches. Everyone stands for the entire mass as in some churches there are no chairs. People walk around the church when mass is going on.
The food that Greece people eat are similar to what we eat during the Easter time but some foods may be different based on their culture and religion. In Greece orthodox church, you are not allowed to eat any kind of meat or any kind of fish, 7 days before receiving the Eucharist during Easter time. On Easter Saturday, the meal will consist of seafood but not any fish. This could include any type of seafood. On Easter Sunday, the feast the all Greece people eat is lamb. On Sunday you would go to the market and buy lamb parts and pieces for the feast. It would be so busy at the markets since everyone is getting ready for the feast of lamb. Dessert was another popular item in Greece. Halva, is a like the filling inside a chocolate bar. It is sold in bigger cubes wrapped in plastic. The Easter donuts they also sell in Greece are like Greek bannack. They put the dough on a cylinder that rotates to create the donut with the circle hole in the middle.
At the stroke of midnight, every church in Greece let off fireworks at the same time. They all light up the sky with colourful bursts of light during the Easter time. Explosions on the street will just blow up when it hits midnight. Teengers would be waiting outside the church as it was going on through the evening waiting for midnight to hit. Numerous teens would light some fireworks before midnight hit. As children’s parents were at church, the kids would be outside the church and playing soccer.
I learnt so much about Easter in Greece. The traditions that they do to celebrate is very interesting to hear about!