In only the past 2-3 days I have learned a lot about what happens around Easter time in Greece. All of this new knowledge I have is from listening to Mr. Sader. It is all very interesting and I feel like I need to share this knowledge about this interesting place.
First off the religion is similar, but still different from what we have here. Unlike the many religions that are present in Canadian society, they have one main religion. Almost everyone in Greece follows the Greek Orthodox Church. This church is similar to a Catholic church but still has many differences.
Some of the things they do for Easter is similar to a Catholic church, but one difference that stood out to me while listening is that everyone brings flowers to the church. The flowers are then used to decorate a sort of bed that they place a statue of Jesus on. On Friday they then parade around the bed. Strangely in a Greek Orthodox Church, they don’t have any statues. That is one of many ways they are different. During a Greek Orthodox mass, people stand and lean the whole time. Only elderly women were allowed to sit. People walk around and visit while the mass is going on and the kids play outside. Around the Easter season, the priest will sing the whole mass with no instrumental assistance. The alter in a Greek Orthodox Church is hidden. There are no statues, only flat images.
There is an extreme amount of churches in Greece, about one every three blocks. In fact, most wealthy families would build their own small church. The larger churches would use speakers so that people outside could hear the mass. The main saint in a Greek Orthodox Church is Saint Paul. Churches have a box of sand that people would put a lit candle in to represent someone they are praying for. During the mass, people would walk around to different idols and kiss them or say a small prayer. On Saturday the church doors stay closed until the evening.
In the city of Patmos, there are over 700 churches. The amount of churches here makes a little more sense when you realize that Patmos is where St. John received the revelations. On Easter Friday A jet flies a flame from Jerusalem to the to a military base, it is then taken by helicopter to the monastery. At midnight the priest says “Jesus has risen” and light a candle from the flame from Jerusalem. More candles get lit and people light others candles. Almost everyone has a candle.
Along with the candles, fireworks are set off. Kids set off smaller ones that are thrown at the ground. While all this is happening people have to try to get their candle back to their home to light another candle in their house. On Easter Sunday they have a meal of lamb cooked over an open fire. On Easter Saturday they have a feast of seafood, but they can’t have any fish.
That is almost everything I learned about Easter in Greece. There is a little more but there is no place to put it. Greece seems like a very interesting place and I would like to visit sometime.