The Orthodox Easter Celebration

The Orthodox religion celebrates Easter based on the Julian calendar, which this year was the week after other Christian faiths, so we were on Chios for the holiday weekend. The Greeks travel to get their families together for Easter and Christmas, and we imagined even more traveled since doing so during the pandemic was difficult. So the three flights a day and the hotel were packed with families. The hotel delivered gifts to guest rooms — their equivalent of hot cross buns, colored eggs and a candle. And the hotel offered a special dinner at 11pm Saturday night (which we did not attend) to celebrate the resurrection, the ending of the fasting of Lent, and a view of the fireworks lighting up everywhere over the harbor.

Friday morning, we were very fortunate to be able to attend what was described to us as “the funeral for Jesus” in the small village of Vavyli. Not knowing what to expect of an Orthodox “funeral for Jesus”, we were wisely advised to “stand when others are standing and sit when they sit” — good advice for any religious service which is unfamiliar. We needed to leave the allegedly 60-minute service at the 90-minute mark in order to keep another commitment; now understanding that interminable length is one of the hallmarks of Orthodox services.

The “other commitment” was in the office of the deputy mayor of Chios, who had taken us to the service. He had a recognition for Sharon’s contributions “to the people of Vavyli and to Chios” in a small ceremony — which began with shots of Mastica Liqueur sitting around a small table in his office at about 11am. All in promotion of their #1 product. One wonders how many of these “recognitions” he does each day……

That night, beginning at about 9pm, the funeral for Jesus continued with a procession through the village, carrying the icon of Christ from the church. I sat this one out, taking a little down time at the hotel instead.

All of this was very culturally rich and something that few visitors to Greece have the honor of experiencing; making me all the more appreciative of life’s offerings.

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