About Easter Celebrations in Greece
This video is of Greek Easter (Pascha) which is the same date for all Orthodox Church and Byzantine Church which includes the Orthodox of Serbia, Greece, Russia, Syria, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Jordan, India, Japan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Albanian, Romanian, Coptic, Ethiopia, Assyria and so many others.
Celebrations will vary by country but still are very similiar. I am giving information according to what I know but I am not a historian! I was fortunate enough to spend Greek Easter in Greece with our youngest son, Joshua with some dear Greek firends, Tula, Stevenos, Everanthia, and Paniotis in a village on the island of Evyia. It was an amazing experience! I will never forget the midnight procession and eating Easter Midnight Soup - (Magiritsa). Then on Easter the roasting of the whole lamb over vine clippings while the men took turns turning the lamb over the spit andthe wonderful retsina wine that the grandfather had made. We ate tsoureki ehich is a traditional Greek Easter bread. Red eggs are always woven into the dough, a practice that probably dates back to very ancient times. Oh and eating kokoretsi the men had made,and cracking red eggs against each others. Such a wonderful celebration.
Many observe 10 weeks of Lent and fasting, but some only a few days, and still some do not fast at all. Children, pregnant woman and the elderly are not to fast. On Saturday before Easter everyone goes to church late in the evening, carrying with them unlit candles. At midnight the priest announces the resurrection of Christ ("Christos anesti") and church bells toll and fireworks will be set off honoring the end of Lent and greeting each other saying joyfully that “Christ is Risen!” .
After services, the people typically gather for a meal, and the priest blesses food baskets. Meats and dairy products can now be eaten once again. Traditional Pascha/Easter delicacies served on this day include richly colored eggs often red as for Greeks, a sweet, high-domed (Russian) Easter bread and a sweet cheese spread called Pascha .
On Easter Sunday friends and family gather in homes, eating lamb on the spit and dyed eggs. Before the red eggs are eaten, however, you must crack them against your neighbours, and whoever wins by having a whole egg at the end, will get all the luck.
Some will eat a meal of soup with kokoresti which is the sausage made from the offal of the slautered lamb that will be spit roasted for Easter for the family and friends.
Orthodox (Julian calendar) this year the Good Friday is on the 25th of April and the Easter Sunday on the 27th of April 2008, whereas Western Christians will celebrate Easter on March 23. Some years the two dates are but one week apart, and some years even on the same date.
Many Orthodox fast before Easter, and are not allowed to eat various foods such as meat, butter, milk as well as olive oil for the last few days.
1054 A.D. the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church split.
Complete history of the Orthodox Church can be found: