With its numerous interesting customs and religious ceremonies for the visitor, and although the conditions are different, there are still opportunities to safely celebrate in Crete the most important holiday for the Greeks, the Orthodox Paska or Pascha, during the most beautiful season, on the doorstep of summer.
Easter is an excellent time to be in Crete; the weather and temperatures are perfect for walking, hiking and often comfortable enough to lie on the beach when the sun shines. Throughout Crete, Holy Week is celebrated with special brilliance and devoutness, when most people take their fasting seriously and gather in church every evening, especially on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and on Holy Saturday, the night of the Resurrection.
Holy Thursday is a busy day; distinctive aromas of freshly baked sweet Easter bread called tsoureki, as well as kalitsouni with the mizithra cheese, linger in homes throughout Crete. It is also the day for dyeing eggs red, an old custom that symbolizes the blood of Christ and also the renewal of life. Church services are held in the evening and many of the older women will even hold a nighttime vigil to silently pray next to a symbolic representation of the crucifixion.
On Holy Friday morning and after the "Great Hours" of mourning, young girls go out to the villages to collect flowers from the fields to take them to the churches to decorate the Epitaph, a symbol of the tomb of Chris. In the evening, the procession of the Epitaph around the villages and towns, carrying candles and chanting hymns as the bells ring the funeral toll, is an overwhelming custom.
On Holy Saturday fireworks and pipe bombs mark the night service of Resurrection. Especially in western Crete’s villages, founara, the burning effigy of Judas that takes place, is one of the few customs preserved from the period of Ottoman rule until today.
On Easter Sunday nearly everyone is up early, grills are fired up and the traditional lamb or goat along with kokoretsi, (seasoned lamb offal) is already turning slowly on the spit, as the tables are prepared for the great Easter feast. The laughter and dancing are back and the custom of cracking the red-dyed eggs called tsougrisma is a funny game that symbolizes Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead!
During your Easter Holidays on Crete, to make your stay complete, include one of our luxury villas in Crete like https://www.cretevillas4u.com/en/Crete/Rethymno/Agios-Antonios-Nefeli in Rethymno, close to key locations and https://www.cretevillas4u.com/en/Crete/Chania/Pasiphae in Chania’s beachfront location. Kalo Pascha!!!
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