Posts Tagged ‘Orthodox Easter’



April 19, 2020

Greek Easter

Family and friends gathering,  cracking red eggs, naps before midnight service, lit candles, traditional songs, church throughout Holy week, fasting, communion, dancing, firecrackers, up all night, Yiayia’s hands covered with oil, a feast to behold, and so much more. My family didn’t have much growing up BUT we were wealthy through our traditions especially throughout the Easter holiday season.

During the last few weeks at home in isolation and leading up to today, Orthodox Easter, I’ve reflected on what’s important in life. I’ve observed compassion and people going out of their way for others. I am continually impressed by the stories I hear about teachers, school personnel, and school district decisions that have put every learner at the center of the work. I am encouraged and grateful for the work taking place.

I know that my Greek traditions are as important as ever this Easter as I connect with my family in the US and in Greece. We all have traditions and many of mine include growing up in a Greek family. Orthodox Easter, as many of you I’m sure are aware, is often a different date from what my family referred to as ‘American Easter’. We follow the Julian calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar.

Tsoureki bread

Many of our traditions include songs that are only sung in church during Holy Week, rituals around fasting and taking communion and many include certain foods. For example, we eat lamb which we cook on a spit on the grill. This is similar to how it is done in my father’s village in Akrata, Greece cooking an entire lamb on a very large spit. My mother’s roasted potatoes and spanakopita are favorite parts of the meal. The bread is called Tsoureki, it’s a sweet bread braided into a wreath with eggs. For dessert we have Galaktoboudiko that is made with milk, eggs, farina, filo dough and topped with honey hot out of the oven.

My favorite part of the day is the tradition of cracking the beautiful red eggs. We dye all of our eggs red to signify the blood of Christ. We tap each others egg while saying Kristos Anesti (Christ has risen) and responding with Alithos Anesti (He has truly risen) as we try to be the last one without a cracked egg. Good luck goes to the person with the uncracked egg.

We always have many people around our table on Easter Day to share the meal and traditions. The gathering of people and sharing meals continues into my adult life. This Easter will be different because the only ones at our table will be family. I am grateful that we can be together.

In my reflection I realize how important traditions and routines are when people struggle. So today more than any other year I will remember the many Greek Easters with family in America and in Greece and how grateful I am to have these memories. We will zoom with the relatives in my father’s village and know that our connection goes beyond being Greek, family, and traditions. The world is connected now more than ever and I am grateful that so many are showing kindness to others. I hope when our students look back on this time that they remember how much people took care of each other. Kristos Anesti – Happy Greek Easter!

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