Five weeks after Easter, as it was celebrated in many parts of the world, this Greeks are finally celebrating theirs this Sunday. Like all Greek celebrations there will be no lack of pomp or circumstance or food or music or celebration. But before the any celebrations can take place, there is the solemnity of the church services, services that are deeply moving, mourning the death of Christ with haunting laments and churches draped in purple and black. There is the midnight Resurrection mass on Saturday night where all the congregants light a candle from the Eternal flame on the alter; once everyone’s candle is lit, and the clock moves to midnight, the priest begins singing the ancient Byzantine hymn, Christos Anesti (Christ is Risen); then, the fast is broken, and the celebration officially begins–many restaurants will offer midnight dinners of traditional Greek Easter foods.
The Greek Easter table is truly a table “fit for a king.” Traditionally, families would roast whole lambs, and some, if they have the space, still do; however, most will cook the lamb in their oven. In addition to lamb, they table is adorned with savory side dishes such as roasted potatoes, rice, oven roasted vegetables, breads, gorgeously dyed red eggs, and of course there is wine and ouzo. One of the main highlights of the tradition is the egg cracking–Greeks don’t really do egg hunts. Traditionally, the egg cracking is like a game where one person tries to crack the egg of the other person; the person who succeeds in cracking the other ones egg is said to receive good luck. The celebration lasts well into the night, and the leftovers can make people feel like Easter goes on for days.
A Happy Easter to all our Greek Families.