Friday, April 15, 2011

Looking forward to the most religious celebration in Crete

In 2011, Greek (Orthodox) and Catholic Easter coincide and are celebrated both April 24th. Traditionally, Greek families meet with children and go to their original villages from all over the world for the festival.   The key event for Easter is midnight mass, often celebrated with fireworks. If you're lucky enough to be traveling in Crete during the Greek Orthodox Easter week, you'll have an opportunity to experience all of the rich pageantry and deep religious devotion expressed by the Greeks at Eastertime.
Various ceremonies are held during the Holy Week and culminate on the eve of Easter Sunday. At midnight, churches all across the island switch out their lights, and each worshipper then lights their very own candle and take it home, trying to keep it alight! This is a very important event in the Cretan Greek Othodox calendar.

On Good Friday the people of the towns and villages carry candles and follow the procession of the Epitaph.

Saturday in Holy Week the ceremony of the ressurection takes place in the courtyard in front of all churches and bells are rung all over the towns and cities. Candles are lit one from the other and then the people make their way home for the traditional feast of dyed red Easter eggs and Mageritsa soup.

Easter Sunday (Pascha) is the biggest church holiday in Greece. All over the country lambs are roasted on a spit and there is wine in abbundance. Red eggs are cracked against each other and the person with the last remaining uncracked egg will have good luck. People greet one another saying "Christos Anesti" responded with " Alithos Anesti" ("Christ has risen", "It is true, he has risen"). This is the most beautiful time to be in Greece, particularly in Crete.

On the island of Crete you will find many villages who prepare for the bonfire effigy of Judas.  Just take a trip through any rural area in the week leading up to Easter Sunday and enjoy the sight of men and women on their donkeys gathering sticks and branches in preparation for the effigy burning.

The best car is a vehicle like Hyundai Atos Prime A/C or Opel Corsa A/C; rent one and drive around traditional villages located in the Plateau of Lassithi or in Apokoronas area, in the region of Chania. 

For more information about renting a car visit our webpage

Ta leme
"The Best" team

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