Great Lent began on March 2 this year, so put down that chicken drumstick if you haven’t already. It may also be a good time to put in that annual leave to give you some extra prep time. Holy Week begins on April 12, with Good Friday falling on April 17. Easter Sunday falls on April 19, we can smell the lamb already!
2. Kyra Sarakosti
An old woman with seven legs, no mouth and hands crossed in prayer serves as an Easter advent calendar. In the week leading up to Easter Sunday, one leg is broken off until the Saturday. In Chios they hide the final leg in a dried fig or walnut shell and whoever finds it is granted good luck.
The common rule is that you cannot consume any products from animals that bleed. With veganism booming it is easier than ever to enjoy lent, but you cannot beat the classics. Halva, lentils, calamari and fava beans are always favourites.
4. Local traditions
At times the course of history alters traditions, creating new ones. In Corfu, the Epitaphios takes place on the Saturday morning after Good Friday. This began when the Venetians banned the procession to take place at night. During this time the mummified remains of St.Spyridon are also carried through the town.
READ MORE: Enjoying Easter traditions from around Greece
5. The Holy Week
The ‘Megali Evdomada’ is a revival of Jesus’ last days on Earth. Church services run every evening. Holy Wednesday is one of the only days where you can receive communion during this week. On Good Friday Jesus is placed in the tomb and in the evening priests and followers make a procession around the church neighbourhood.
One of the most prolific symbols of Orthodox Easter are the red eggs, boiled and dyed for competitive cracking on Sunday. The smell of the tsoureki baking fills homes, with some adding their own flair to their recipes including chocolate chips and almonds.
Being a godparent is a blessing and seeing the joy in your godchild’s eyes as they open a beautifully decorated candle is priceless. New clothes and shoes are always appreciated and don’t forget the tsoureki!
READ MORE: Vegan Easter tsoureki
Many young families have forgone the 40 days of lent and instead opt for a single week. Buying ready-made tsoureki from the local deli or café has taken off some of the pressure from our busy lives.
9. Meaning of Lent
Lent is more of a spiritual experience; what you eat is a small portion of the process that brings us closer to God. It is a time to repent, to pray and to be thankful for the sacrifices that were made for us to be here today.
READ MORE: Who is Kyra Sarakosti? A horrific-looking custom with a simple explanation
10. Breaking Lent
The best part of lent is breaking it after midnight mass. Magiritsa, kotosoupa, you name it!
Easter Sunday calls for lambs on the spit, roasts and sharing gratitude with our loved ones. Passing out on the couch from a food coma is optional.