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Mythology Customs Traditions Free Preview

Easter - Το Πάσχα

Part 2

Holy Week - Η Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα

   This is the most strict week of the Great Lent. There is an atmosphere of grief. Many people avoid any kind of entertainment, and many are going to church to watch the services. 
   The most important services of the holy week begin on Holy Wednesday.

Holy Wednesday - Η Μεγάλη Τετάρτη

   The major event on this day is Holy Unction (το Ευχέλαιο). The priests anoint the people, with oil that was blessed during Holy Unction, on the face and the hands of the people, making a symbol of the cross. Holy Unction can also take place in homes.

Holy Thursday - Η Μεγάλη Πέμπτη

   In almost every house in Greece this is the day that they dye the eggs red. The eggs are collected during Lent. Also housewives are baking bread, that usually has a round shape, oval or the shape of a basket. The bread is decorated with almonds or pecans and a red egg is placed in the middle. The red egg custom has many explanations. Some say that it symbolizes the blood of Jesus. Others say that because red is the color of happiness, it symbolizes the joy of the miracle resurrection.
   At night everyone goes to church to watch the service of the Crucifixion. The service is long. The priests are reading the twelve (12) Gospels. Many people are staying in the church after the service to mourn Jesus.
   In some places in Greece they fix an "image" that is suppose to be Judas and they burn it to show their resentful feelings of what he did to Christ.

Good Friday - Η Μεγάλη Παρασκευή

   This is the day that everybody is fasting very strictly. In church the ceremony of the burial of Christ is taking place. The priests are taking down the crucified body of Christ and place It on an Epitaph. Young girls are taking special care to decorate and cover the Epitaph with flowers. Everyone is passing under the Epitaph. Crawling under the Epitaph is believed to bless and forgive the people of their sins.
   Night has arrived. The Epitaphios (Epitaph) is coming out of the church. First the Epitaphios, then the priests, and after them the people. They are going to walk through every street in the village or city. If there is more than one church, each Epitaphios is following a different path but they'll meet at some point. In every crossroad they stop and the priests are saying a short blessing. 
   When the processional is finished everyone returns to the church and passes under the Epitaph for one last time. Then the priest gives each person a flower, which is blessed now, from the Epitaph. 
   During all this, the mournful sound from the bells of the churches can be heard.

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