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crete, chania | January 11, 2023

Greek Easter in Spring

Easter is one of the most colorful and traditional times to visit Crete after a long winter. The landscape changes with bursts of wild flowers and fragrances fill the air as it heats up with sunny sunshine.

The local Greek communities during this time express their faith on the most important holiday in the Greek Orthodox Calendar. Easter in Crete is at its most authentic, traditional and festive period of the year!

One of the things that makes Cretan Easter so special is the fact that it is celebrated over 40 days, beginning with “Clean Monday” where the Greeks all traditionally eat seafood to begin the beginning of lent, and the fasting period, leading up to the Holy week.

During the holy week there are an array of festive activities around the community and church, including lovely food related traditions.

One cannot miss the traditional Greek Easter eggs that are painted red on Holy Thursday, as well as the traditional ‘Tsourekia’ – sweet breads shaped into braids and baked in oval shapes.

On holy Thursday the community also decorate an epitaph with garlands of flowers in church, so that it is ready on Good Friday to receive the image of the body of Christ when this is taken down from the cross.

Good Friday is considered a day of mourning. The drama of the death of Christ is followed with great devotion during the day and in church with the epitaph procession around the church area in the evening and holy mass and gatherings in Church throughout the day. Tradition has that all follow behind the epitaph in mourning procession, holding a candle in memory of Christ.

This all leads up to Saturday night of the “resurrection of Christ” where young and old gather in Church late at night with candles to mark the resurrection at 12pm midnight and to chant “Christos Anesti” – “Christ has risen” after the dramatic church bells ring at midnight.

The fun Greek Easter festivities are then celebrated in full force on Easter Sunday. Families and friends roast lambs on spits, others in the oven. It is a day of song and dance throughout the country with lots of food and drink!

With warm temperatures and wonderful festivities in place, don’t miss the chance to experience Chania during the Spring months of April, May and especially during the Easter period!