Greek Easter (Πάσχα) is the biggest celebration for the Orthodox Christians.
Easter is a moving celebration. That means that it doesn't have a standard date. It is celebrated
on the first Sunday after the full moon of the vernal equinox.
There are many celebrations in the week before Easter and we'll check the most important
of them starting with Lazarus Saturday.
Lazarus Saturday - Το Σάββατο του ΛαζάρουOn this Saturday we celebrate the rise of Lazarus from the dead. It is celebrated on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus. He died. After four days Jesus resurrected him. This way he proved to the people that he can defeat death and prepared them for his resurrection.
In many places in Greece they bake special bread on this day, in the shape of a human. In other places the children are singing carols that are called lazarika (λαζαρικά).
Palm Sunday - Η Κυριακή των ΒαΐωνThe week before Easter Sunday, we celebrate Palm Sunday. This is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and was followed by an enormous crowd. Many of the followers were putting palm leaves on the street where Jesus was passing.
The churches, following what happened back then, are all decorated with palms or bay leaves. After the service the priest lightly taps the people with these palms and gives them a small branch to take with them. The home owners are keeping these blessed palms next to the icons in the house. On this day the people that are fasting, are allowed to eat fish.