05 May 2013 | Alimou Marina
The Greek Orthodox date for Easter is based on the Julian calendar as opposed to the Gregorian so Greece is celebrating Easter this weekend. On Good Friday, the flags are flown at half mast to mourn the death of Christ. There is the Procession of the Epitaphios of Christ where a symbolic decorated coffin is carried through the streets by the faithful and people spend time mourning their loved ones. The evening of Easter Saturday and Sunday is spent celebrating the Resurrection of Christ.
Our new friend Yiota very kindly invited us to join her family on Easter Saturday night to celebrate. We all went down to the church at about 11 pm. Crowds of people started gathering outside for the service and at midnight the priest announced Christos Anesti – Christ is Risen –and the crowd answered Alithos Anesti – Truly he has risen! Fireworks were set off and the bells started ringing. Loud firecrackers were being thrown all around exploding with huge bangs in the middle of the crowd. At the front of the church was a flame which apparently had come from the cave in Jerusalem where Christ had been buried. It arrives at the airport in the middle of the afternoon and is brought to all the churches where it is placed at the front. We all had candles and the people at the front lit theirs from the flame and then lit the candles of the people behind them and so on through the crowd.
We walked back to Yiota’s mum’s house for dinner with our lit candles which were then left burning through the night to symbolize the light returning to the world. Dinner was a fantastic meal. Bright red boiled eggs are beside everyone’s plate and the meal starts by cracking these with each other to symbolize Christ breaking out of the tomb. The one whose egg lasts the longest is assured good luck for the rest of the year. In our case, Georgia, Yiota’s seven year old niece! Dinner included a creamy, lemony soup supposedly made from lamb sweetmeats, fricassee of goat, dolmades, potatoes roasted in orange, tzatskiki, salads and lots of Greek wine. Just fabulous.
Easter Sunday is spent at home with family and friends where a whole spiced lamb or goat is roasted over charcoal in honour of the Lamb of God who was sacrificed and rose again. We spent Easter Sunday sitting quietly on the boat getting over the fact that we had been out until 3 am!
Of course, because it is a holiday weekend, all public offices are shut until Wednesday which means that, although we now have our Australian Registration Certificate, we can’t get our transit log until Wednesday when the Customs office is open again!