Event: Celebrate Orthodox Easter in Astoria

Easter_eggs_maria_dino_499 This year the Orthodox Easter and
Christian Easter will be celebrated on the same day.  Astoria, with its large population of
Greek-Americans, has become the site of one of the world's largest celebrations
of this Orthodox holiday. The main outdoor festivities take place Friday night
with ornate street processions, called epitaphios, which re-enact Christ's
burial march. The community's four large Eastern Orthodox churches, St. Irene,
St. Demetrios, St. Catherine and St. George, and St. Markella all join in the
festivities which you can view from the corner of 23rd Ave and 31st
St. After a service at each church, the symbolic body of Christ, fashioned out
of bundled sheets, is taken down from a cross and placed in a makeshift tomb,
which is draped with an ornate tapestry and adorned with thousands of flowers.

The tomb is then carried from each church on the shoulders of a dozen men and
paraded through the neighborhood before returning to the church for a closing
ceremony. This is truly a sight to be seen while priests chant in ancient
Greek, brass bands play, incense fills the air and congregants march by holding
tall candles.

Lefkos Pyrgos Café on 31st Ave. is
an ideal spot to watch the procession and pick up some sweet tsoureki bread
which is a Greek Easter tradition. It has a red egg on the top of the loaf
which signifies the blood of Christ.

When and Where:

7:00pm – 9:30pm Procession of the Epitaphios

23rd Ave and 31st Street Astoria NY