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Holy Week & Greek Easter 2023

Feel the real spirit of Crete during the biggest religious holiday in the country

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Holy Week is the most important religious celebration for the Greek. The most sacred days are Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Holy Thursday is the day of preparation that begins with dyeing eggs and baking traditional Easter bread tsoureki. Good Friday is a day of mourning. Many people wear black, tavernas are closed, loud music is prohibited in many places. In the evening, people go to church. After the service, a procession goes through the streets with people carrying the epitaph and coffin of the Lord. You can see this beautiful custom in Chania town.

In the old Gavalohori village, and in may other places throughout Crete, children prepare a bonfire to burn Judas at midnight on Easter Saturday . Visitors can watch this tradition near the Gavalohori church. The midnight Service of the Resurrection marks the end of fasting, and the cities suddenly become alive in the middle of the night. After the hymn to the “Risen Christ” is played, everybody lights a candle or a lantern. People exit church, carrying holy light to their house in total silence. According to a popular belief, this helps to rid their houses from demons and bring good luck. On this night, it's common to go out and celebrate the beginning of Easter in different tavernas and cafes with live folk music and dancing. There are many churches in Agios Nikolaos, where you can witness Easter celebrations and traditions.

Easter Sunday is the most important day during Greek Easter. This day is associated with the traditional dish—roasted lamb. It's a day when the whole families gather together, throwing big parties with lots of wine, dancing, music, and enjoyment. It's a good chance to try traditional Easter food and sweets including the above mentioned roasted lamb or goat, as well as roasted potatoes, spinach and cheese pie, and much more.

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