Easter in Leros : The feast of PASKA in GREECE

During Easter week in the Greek islands, the house is a “work factory” of preparation for the Greek housewife. Cookies, cakes, cheese pies, coloured hard-boiled eggs with traditional red dye, all prepared for the big day on Saturday and Sunday, the Day of Resurrection. This festival is the culmination of the Holy Week of Fasting.

During Easter week, the island’s children go to the countryside to pick lavender from the streets of PLATANOS’ main square in LEROS, where the city’s four parishes gather on Friday evenings to wear the epitaph (the bow bearing the icon of Jesus). ) through the surrounding neighbourhoods. The next morning, the Leran people celebrate the first resurrection and commune after the fast.

A procession also takes place in each parish of the island and especially around the port at AGHIA MARINA.

The main celebration takes place at midnight when the whole island gathers in churches to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, light firecrackers and burn the effigy of Judas. At the end of the church service, people enter the churches to light their candles from the priest’s candle (the sacred light) and bring it home where the family table is set up with all the traditional Easter food.

Easter Sunday is the big day of celebration throughout Greece. The feasts continue, with families roasting whole lambs on a spit.



It is the washing ceremony that has a strong tradition especially at the Monastery of Saint John in PATMOS


It is the way of the cross that is made in each island with the children from the schools up to the church or the main monastery of the island. In the evening the epitaphs of the churches are decorated with flowers.

At PATMOS , a procession with large candles with perfume in the streets symbolizes the beering of Christ and the way to his tomb.

Tradition also dictates that the Apocalypse be symbolized in churches with firecrackers, roaring motorcycles and that the puppet depicting Judah be immolated on the facades of churches


On Saturday night a celebration in the churches concludes with the fireworks that celebrate the resurrection of Christ.


The meaning of the tradition and customs of Orthodox Easter lie in the roots of Christianity. 

Good Monday :Fasting has been followed until Resurrection Saturday for 40 days already, but Holy Monday is the day when the hardest fast begins. Many Greeks fast like me. 

Holy Tuesday: Jesus is in Jerusalem with his disciples. The conspiracy begins to stop Jesus who, until today, has always managed to thwart the pitfalls. In some parts of Greece, Greek women go to church with a soup pot full of flour and put 3 candles for the next day’s Anointing: The reception of theHoly oil or the Anointing of Holy Wednesday (Mystery to confer the grace to fight against sin) is followed by the hymns of the Triodion which tell us about the myrrh ointment that Christ receives at his feet in the house of Simon the Leper. The flour will be used to make KOULOURIA, a kind of dry cakes with a citrus taste.

Holy Wednesday: It is Spy Wednesday, when Judas Iscariot prepares the arrest of Jesus with the Sanhedrin for 30 silver coins. Greek believers almost have their stomachs empty but women have already made KOULOURIAS. They place them on the living room table for children and guests who would come. KOULOURIA (dry biscuits in the shape of braids. minutes or until they dorent (see photo below -left at the top of the image-).

Holy Thursday is the day jesus is betrayed by the disciple Judas in the garden of Gethsemani. Holy Thursday commemorates the evening of the day before when Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. The Christ of the Last Supper takes his place and Jesus distributes pieces of bread and wine to them, saying, “Take, eat, this is my body” and “Drink all of them, for this is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, shed for the multitude, for the forgiveness of sins.” Holy Thursday is the day the Greeks apply the recipe for the dyed egg that recalls the blood of Christ and which, on the following Saturday, will recall the joy of Christ’s Resurrection.

Holy Thursday is the day we begin to celebrate Christ’s passion. Greek women prepare the Easter Brioche or she puts a red egg in the middle. This is the brioche you know but we put a little Mastic de Chios; which gives a very good taste. When they have finished making the Brioche, the Greeks go to church where they will hear the song of the 12 Apotres recalling Christ at the Last Supper. The Greek women then prepare the Epitaph which will be decorated with the most beautiful flowers (carnations, roses etc). The Greeks then began with their heavy voice psalms commemorating the passion of Christ.  The Greeks came to the Epitaph through it in order to have Christ’s forgiveness.

Good Friday is the day governor Pontius Pilate asks to  listen to Jesus. He accuses her of subversion of the people in order to become King. Pontius Pilate announces the verdict: crucifixion and the death of Jesus Christ;  Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” And Jesus ascends his cross to the top of Mount Golgotha (the Calvary). The clergy  in Greece is that day vetu of black and anthem the death of Christ. Good Friday is the day of rest and the strictest day of young (some boiled vegetables without oil). In the afternoon, the Greeks commemorate the Deposition of Christ and lay the cross in the Epitaph. The Epitaph procession then began throughout the city.

Holy Saturday is theday when  the vespers and liturgy of St Basil are celebrated, punctuated by readings of the Psalms and hymns of the Resurrection that speak of Christ’s descent into  hell, celebrated as the “First Resurrection “of Adam and victory over death. All candles and candles are being eigned and the Greeks, on Saturday eveningat midnight, are waiting in the darkness  and silence for the proclamation of the Resurrection of Christ. The pope of the church finally pronounces “Christos anesti“(in Greek, Christ is resussucity.) And then everyone kisses and goes through the following dialogue: ” Χρηστός Ανέστη !”? “To “I’m not going to Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti !) which mean: Jesus Christ is reborn! “Yes, it’s really resunitable! People kiss, leaving their candles on as long as possible. Then, all the Greeks rush to go home to eat the traditional Greek soup “MAYIRISTA”.

The Greek Mayiritsa soupis linked to the tradition of the orthdox Easter festival. It is composed of intestines, heart and lamb liver, all cut into small pieces).

After enjoying your Mayiritsa Greek Soup warm, get ready to gently break the Easter eggs you’ve painted! The red-dyed eggs represent the blood of Christ at the time of crucifiction. The hard shell symbolizes the sealed tomb of Jesus Christ. Gently breaking the extreme of Easter eggs between 2 people symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus from the world of the dead (see above how we break the eggs). It is said in Greece that anyone who keeps his egg intact without a single crack will be lucky all year round.

The traditional Saturday evening Easter dinner ensues with lots of joy, white wine and dancing. After going to the mayiritsa soup, to the breakage of the eggs, the big dinner begins: Greek lettuce salad (lettuce leaves cut into small pieces, with fresh onions and dill finely minced) and of course the roti lamb … A prelude to the preparation of the great mechoui of Easter Sunday…

Orthodox Easter Sunday is a great party as it is for all Christians. Very early in the morning, Jesus appears resurrected  before his disciples and asks them to believe in Him, to spread His words and all they know about Him, throughout the world. He asks them to baptize each believer in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And the disciples did what he asked…

On this day, in Greece, the Greeks make a mechoui in their gardens or burp an entire lamb! The lamb is grilled (duration:   5-6 hours) and eaten in honor of   Jesus who sacrificed himself to free us from our sins and rose from the dead at Easter. The Greeks also turn the KOKORETSI on a spit, which is made up of liver, heart, etc. and is well wrapped in the long intestinal thread of the lamb. Easter Sunday is a very big holiday in Greece, if not the biggest holiday of the year. It’s a great day of festivities where people eat a lot, play music and dance to traditional music tunes, all until the end of the afternoon.

Easter Monday is a public holiday. The Greeks continue to celebrate  the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is a procession in the big cities around the churches with believers who follow carrying in their arms the Icon of the Resurrection and the Artos (bread symbolizing the presence of Christ). On this day, it is a relaxing day when we get back to the heart of everything that took place during Holy Week. The Greeks leave the menus to watch over it to prepare pitas (herb and feta pie for example).

Easter in Leros