Are you in Greece this period? Here are some information good to know...
The majority of population in Greece is Christian Orthodox. Christianity has played a very important role in the Greek culture. The 40 days before Easter are known as the season of Lent. Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian calendar and it prepares Christians with prayer and fasting for the greatest feast of the church year, Easter.
Today is the beginning of the last week of Lent, the Holy Week, called also ‘’Greater Week’’. This week includes significant days which are related to some important events, landmarks, in Christian Church such as Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, is associated with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In Greece, Christians have the custom to have fish for meal this Sunday and to carry palms like the crowd did in front of Jesus as he passed through into the Jerusalem. The Thursday before Easter known as Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the twelve Apostles, the betrayal of Judas and the crucifixion of Jesus. In our country, people dye Easter eggs this day, in red color, which symbolizes the blood of Jesus. They also knead ‘’tsoureki’’, the Easter bread. The next day is known as the Good Friday and it is associated with the Death of Jesus. It is the most mournful day of the Holy Week. The evening of Good Friday, every church across Greece honors His Death with an epitaph procession, which is a unique experience for anyone who attends. According to the tradition people should pass under the epitaph, which brings good luck and health. The day between the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection, the Holy Saturday, is the last day of the Holy Week. That day Jesus was hurriedly buried in a cave tomb after his crucifixion.
In Greece, the Resurrection Mass takes place on the night of Holy Saturday. All of the faithful people gather to the church holding white candles. Just a few minutes before midnight, all the lights at the church are turned off and the priest exits the altar holding the Holy Light, which is distributed to everyone inside and outside the church. Fireworks and crackers go off and the dark night is filled with light and colorful explosions. Finally, the day all Christians are waiting for arrives. It is the Easter Sunday when the faithful people celebrate and glorify the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a day full of joy and in our country this day brings together family and friends. They organize feasts where they eat roasted lamb, slowly cooked on the spit and they crack the red eggs that they have prepared on Thursday, indicating the victory over death. This day is a landmark to Christianity and it brings smiles and joy to all of the Christians!
The end of Lent and Holy Week leads Christians to Easter Sunday when they celebrate the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
It does not include Easter Sunday, although traditions observing the Easter Triduum may overlap or displace part of Holy Week or Easter itself within that additional liturgical period.