Easter tradition

Γεράσιμος Ι. Κατωπόδης (Μεγανήσι) - Gera

Saturday of Lazarus finds Meganisi to glisten from lime and the smells of alisfakia, rosemary, and roses in every alley and courtyard.

In the morning the children flock to the neighbourhoods to sing the  Lazarus carols. They hold in their hands' baskets decorated with daisies, lilies, and rosemary and sing: "...tell us, Lazarus, what did you see in Hades you went to...."

In the afternoon, with the guidance of the elders in the church, they make the small bouquets, called "vagia" that the priest will give to the attendees of the next day's mass.

Stuart Baldock (Meganisi - Nice, France)
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On Palm Sunday, everyone goes to the church. When they leave, they take with them the vagia. Vagia are treated as an amulet.

Others put vagia next to the icons in their houses. Others next to the icon of Saint Nicholas in their boat and others in their farms.

Fasting or not, on this day everybody is eating only fish.

Ιωάννα Πετρουλάκη - Μουνδρέα (Αθήνα) - Ι
Γεράσιμος Ι. Κατωπόδης (Μεγανήσι) - Gera

Holy Monday

Holy Tuesday

Holy Wednesday

 

Days full of preparations for the night of the Resurrection and the Easter lunch.

Every night the churches on the island are filled with people.

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On Maundy Thursday morning, the housewives dyeing the eggs red, keeping in mind that they must also share with relatives or neighbours who, due to mourning, will not dye eggs.

They turn on the ovens and knead bread and buns and make green pies, a traditional food of the day. In the afternoon in the church, the twelve gospels are read, and in a climate of deep contemplation, the Crucifixion takes place.

Women offer to Christ elaborate handicrafts, vows for health, and protection of their family. The church stays open all night. The younger women decorate the Epitaph while the older ones chanting the passions all night.

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Good Friday dawns sad and devoutness. Everyone worships the Crucified Jesus in the church without drinking even water. The children are singing Easter carols in all the houses of the village.

 

Housewives do not do any work. They do not cook or set the table or sit around it. They do not even eat oil and the older ones wet their lips with vinegar, participating in the Divine drama.

Later in the ceremony, the priest takes Jesus out of the cross and places him to the Epitaph. In Katomeri takes place at noon while in Vathi and Spartochori in the morning.

At night in the church, the epitaph is mourned and the procession of the epitaph takes place throughout the village.

With the return of the epitaph to the church begins the burning of Judas, a custom that lasts for many years. Judas (human effigy) is thrown into the fire after reaching there accompanied by a large crowd and sparklers.

On the morning of Holy Saturday, with the ringing of the church bell in every house, villagers throw the "piece" (they break a clay or ceramic object), so that the Resurrection message will be heard everywhere.

In the evening, when the church bell rings, the whole village goes to the church to attend the Resurrection mass holding candles. They all stand in the courtyard of the temple. All the lights go out and the service begins. After the Resurrection, the streets of the village are filled with the holy light that is transmitted to every house.

When they return home with the Holy Light, they make a cross on the top of the door with the smoke of the flame, then light the candle and the whole family sits at the festive table.

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Stuart Baldock (Meganisi - Nice, France)

On Easter Sunday, everyone wakes up in the early hours of the morning. The housewives start the preparations for the festive table. The men light the fires to put the lamb on the spit and the kokoretsi.

In the neighborhoods, families gather around the fires, and with the sounds of traditional music, the traditional Easter feast is beginning.

In Katomeri, even today, some people have lamb on the spit on Monday, following the tradition.

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