Easter is the most revered and celebrated of all the spiritual rituals of the Greek Orthodox Calendar. In some parts of Greece, on the Sunday before Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera), it is the custom to eat an egg at the end of the meal, following which the accompanying phrase is said “With an egg I close my mouth and with an egg I shall open my mouth once again”. The closure of one’s mouth represents the six week period of “Great Lent” and the eating of the egg which breaks the fast is referring to the egg that is dyed red (in my case blue!) This is broken to celebrate Christ’s resurrection following Anastasi (the Church service at midnight when the fireworks—which can sound like bombs—the louder being the better - are let off). Everyone walks around saying to each other ‘Christos Anesti’ (Christ has risen).
One of the many things that help to make Easter special is the tradition of breaking the “Red Egg”. This can carry on for a few days and starts on the return from the Church and fireworks when most families sit down to a traditional soup called ‘pat-sa’ — to end the fast they have been doing for the last 40 days of Lent. The following day lamb is roasted on a spit in the garden or cooked with rice in many of the village ovens which are lit from the evening before.
In most Greek households, baskets are filled with dyed red eggs which are offered to newly arrived guests to select and partake in the egg cracking ritual with their hosts. Each person has an egg and taps it against their opponents egg—the one that does not break is the ’winning’ one. The winner then goes on to the next person to see if their egg still does not break—the holder of the last surviving egg that was not broken in the ’competition’ is the Easter winner and will have luck and good fortune for the remainder of the year!
I and Manos would like to wish everyone a very Happy Greek/Orthodox Easter !!! Kalo Paska - Christos Anesti!