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Easter customs

The days before Easter all the houses were cleaned out and the housewives cooked the traditional rusks (arkatena) and the famous “flaounes” (pastry with cheese and raisins). On Holy Thursday they painted some eggs, usually red, which they would clink after the Resurrection Ceremony.

Saturday of Lazarus 
On Saturday of Lazarus, groups of two, mainly young children went to all the houses of the village and chanted “Lazarus”. The housewives offered them eggs and money. This custom has not survived.

Palm Sunday
On Palm Sunday, women took leaves from olive trees to the church. The leaves would remain in the church until Pentecost when they would be hallowed and taken back home for the traditional “kapnisma” (literally smoking). Specifically, the leaves from the olive tree were put in the “kapnistiri” (earthen-plated vessel) with cinder and used for the “kapnisma” of the houses and people. This practice is considered as apostrophic for the evil spirits and it survives to this day.

On Holy Thursday, the holy icons of the church are covered with a black veil indicating the bereavement of the faithful. The same night, a replica of the holy cross with Christ on is set. On the right of the cross there is a replica of Apostle John and on the left another replica of Virgin Mary.
All the habitants of the village go to church and genuflect before the holy cross and attend to the service of the 12 gospels concerning the Passion of Christ, His Crucifixion and His death.

On Holy Friday the faithful decorates the epithaph. Young women chant the dirge (lamentation), while three myrrh-bearing women strew the epitaph with myrrh, aromas and flowers. During the night the procession of the epitaph takes place in the central roads of the village. During the procession, the women of the village strew the epitaph with the “mereha”.

During the morning service of Holy Saturday, when the priest says “Anasta o Kirios” (Arise, O God), the faithful slam the church’s stools and the black veils, which cover the holy icons fall.

Around 11 pm, the bells toll merrily in order to invite the Christians to the happiest service of the Christian church.

Outside of the church there is a big fire, called “Lampratzia” (eastern bonfire). At midnight the priest says “ defte lavete fos ek tou anesperou fotos” (come forward and receive light from the eternal light) and comes out of the church with the lay clerks for the Procession. People light their candles from the holy light and they all go in the yard of the church for the Resurrection Ceremony.

After the service, people return to their homes, with their candles and keep the holy light for 40 days. They eat the traditional soup “avgolemoni” (made with eggs, lemon and rice) or trachana, flaounes.

On Sunday, after the service, people make the traditional lamb on charcoals and they celebrate the day. In the afternoon, the Community Council organizes some events (including traditional games) in the village’s plaza. The events continue until Easter Monday and Tuesday. 

On 15th August is the feast day of Panagia Photolambousa and the inhabitants organize a big festival in the yard of the church. A lot of people, even from other villages and cities visit the church to express their devotedness to Virgin Mary. 

 September 2019

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