When is Greek Easter in 2023?

OT KAT Corfu

The dates for Greek Orthodox Easter in 2023 are as follows:

Good Friday - April 14, 2023

Holy Saturday - April 15, 2023

Easter Sunday or Easter Day - April 16, 2023

Easter Monday - April 17, 2023

This year, that's a week later than Western Christian Easter. Despite it being commonly called Greek Easter, this tradition is celebrated in other places apart from Greece. Other countries that officially observe Orthodox Easter include Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Georgia, Belarus and Russia.

Is it a bank holiday?

Orthodox Good Friday - also known as Great Friday and in Greek as Megáli Paraskeví - is not a bank holiday in the UK. And nor is Orthodox Easter Monday, also known as Bright Monday and in Greek as Deftéra tou Páscha.

There are no Orthodox Easter public holidays in Australia, Canada or the USA either, because - like the UK - they predominantly observe Western Christian traditions.

But those countries named above that officially observe Orthodox Easter as their main Easter will be having public holidays on their equivalent of Good Friday and Easter Monday.

How is Greek Easter celebrated?

The main date is Easter Sunday, or Easter Day, which is when Christ’s Resurrection took place. The fasting of Lent continues throughout Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday.

In Greece, preparations begin on Holy Thursday. Easter bread (tsoureki) is baked and eggs are coloured with red dye. Red is the colour of life and also symbolic of the blood of Christ.

Good Friday is a day of mourning. The most devout do not eat or cook at all but if any cooking must be done, it’s only simple foods such as tahini soup.

Flowers are taken to church to decorate a representation of the body of Christ, which is carried in a procession during a Service of Lamentation.

On Easter Saturday, families prepare mayiritsa, a soup made from lamb (or goat kid) offal and tripe, cooked on the stove with onions and herbs (plus an egg and lemon sauce that's mixed in at the end). Sometimes it's made with chicken instead. It's usually left on a low heat when everyone goes to church in the evening so it can be eaten when they get back.

Worshippers go to church with special white candles which are lit just before midnight as the Eternal Flame on the altar is passed around the congregation. After midnight, as Easter Day begins, there are early morning prayer services and communion.

Traditionally, worshippers carry their flame home and use it to light other candles in the house. Families then gather around the table and break their fast with soup, bread and eggs.

On Easter Sunday morning, a meal of roast lamb is made and households enjoy a feast of eating and drinking until well into the night.

In Greece itself, the Eternal Flame arrives by military jet on Easter Saturday and is given to the priests to take to their local churches. At midnight, the whole country comes to life with church bells, ships’ horns, floodlights and fireworks.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024