INTRODUCTION Easter, the Sunday of the Resurrection, Pascha, or Resurrection Day, is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed at some point between late March and late April each year.
EASTER WHEN WE CELEBRATE IT WHAT WE CELEBRATE POEM EASTER CUSTOMS EASTER CUSTOMS THE HOLY WEEK THE SATURDAY OF LAZARUS HOLY THURSDAY HOLY FRIDAY TRADITIONAL GAMES
EASTER SUNDAY EASTER WISHES
EASTER is the fundamental festival of the Orthodox Christians. Every other religious festival on our calendars, including Christmas, is secondary in importance to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not to say that Christmas and other elements of the Christian liturgical calendar are ignored. Pascha (Easter) is the primary act that fulfils the purpose of Christ's ministry on earth—to defeat death by dying and to purify and exalt humanity by voluntarily assuming and overcoming human weakness.
Easter and the holidays that are related to it, are moveable feasts, in that, they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars (which follow the motion of the sun and the seasons). Instead, they are based on a lunar calendar similar to the Hebrew Calendar. We celebrate Easter, the first Sunday after the first full moon on, or after March 21. Thus, Easter, arrives every year, accompanied by the smells of spring, the rebirth of nature and the flower-carpeted ground.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which we, Christians believe occurred on the third day of his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33. Traditionally the Easter Season lasts for fifty days until Pentecost.
This troparion is sung repeatedly during Pascha: Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs Bestowing life!
As with many other Christian dates, the celebration of Easter extends beyond the church. Preparations and customs remain some of the most traditional in our modern way of living. Many of these traditions, which bond the generations together, occur mostly in villages than in the cities. That preparation means the cleaning and decoration of the house, the baking of the Easter koulouria and flaounes and the dyeing of the eggs.
During Holy Week the churches are full each evening as the people follow, once more the Passion of Our Lord.
Easter begins with a 40-day fast. The first week, starting with “Kathara Deftera” (Green Monday) is chosen for the complete fast. During that time only natural foods are eaten. During Holy Week complete fasting is to take place again. Palm Sunday, which is the first day of the Holy Week, is a day when only fish and fish courses are served.
Holy (or Great) Thursday. Easter preparations begin on Holy Thursday when traditional Easter bread, “koulouria”, are made with flour, milk, spices and little sugar. Eggs are dyed red (red is the color of life as well as a representation of the blood of Christ). From ancient times, the egg has been a symbol of the renewal of life, and the message of the red eggs is victory over death. Traditionally they are dyed red with a special root called "rizari", that is sold in bundles at the market during these days. They are also dyed yellow. For this purpose the yellow marguerites that cover the waysides and fields during April are used.
On Holy Thursday evening, church services include a symbolic representation of the crucifixion, and the period of mourning begins. The church icons are covered with black cloths. In many villages - and in cities as well - women will sit in church throughout the night, in traditional mourning. Many years ago, on Holy Thursday, metallurgists in Cyprus stopped working as a sign of respect for Christ's passions. It is said that Pontius Pilatus, the ruler of Rome had asked the metallurgists to make only three nails for Christ's crucifixion but instead they made more. In this way, they showed how much they were afraid of him and wanted to put him to death.
Holy (or Great) Friday. The holiest day of Holy Week is Holy Friday. It is a day of mourning, not of work (including cooking). It is also the only day during the year when the Divine Liturgy is not read. Flags are hung at halfmast and church bells ring all day in a slow mournful tone. Traditionally, women and children take flowers to the church to decorate the Epitaphios” (the symbolic bid of Christ).
“The image of Christ, is carried on the shoulders of the faithful in a procession through the village and back. And it is the day, housewives are baking “flaounes", a kind of cheese cake found in Cyprus, made of short crust with a cheese, egg and mint filling, formed into triangular and square shapes.
The Easter tradition of Tryzo-gyra in Agios Amvrosios, Tryzo-gfyra is made with a straight pine tree approximately 75 feets. They cut 8 feet from the thick side of the pine and they bury 3ft underground. Then they make a hole on the tree’s thick side while they narrow the pole edge to fit in the hole.
One person is then sited on the thin side of the tree and up to eight on the thick and thus forcing the thin side to elevate. Then they begin rolling the whole thing with extreme speed. The movement produces a very loud sound because of the addition of carbon and petroleum inside the whole.
One of the most common Christian symbols, especially associated with Easter, is the Lamb. The origin of the symbol is related directly to the Jewish Passover. In ancient times the Jews sacrificed a lamb in the course of the festival. They also associated the sacrifice of the lamb with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
WISHES IN ENGLISH
WISHES IN GREEK
CHRIST IS RISEN
TRULY HE IS ARISEN
HAVE A GOOD LENT
On Saturday of Lazarus, that is the Saturday before Holy Week, children go from door to door to sing the song of Lazarus. Many years ago in the villages of Kyrenia, people used to have a very nice custom. Two days before visiting houses to sing the song, children went to the beach to pick a special kind of plant used to dye Easter eggs in deep red color. After singing the song they would offer it to the housewives for their Easter eggs. As a reward they would give back money or eggs.