The customs of Easter in Crete

The Great Lent and the fasting

Forty-eight (48) days lasts fasting before Easter, as much as the days when Jesus fasted in the desert. In the early Christian times the period of Lent was dedicated to the preparation of the Indochering, who on Easter Day were baptized. On The palm Sunday, fish consumption is allowed and in the temples there is the distribution of branches of vagia



The carols of passions, the wreath-epitaph

The Carols, «Lazarus tell us what you saw..», are said on the Saturday morning of Lazarus and refer to the Resurrection of Lazarus. Also on the morning of Holy Friday is called the adulterer «Today black sky.» which refers to the crucifixion of Jesus. These carols are usually said by school groups. At the same time two girls or a boy and a girl hold a wreath that has been laid with the most beautiful flowers of the time and this is then deposited with great respect either on the epitaph or on the tomb of the recently deceased parish.



Lambrokouloura, kalitsounia amd the candle of Resurrection

In Holy Thursday morning, women start kneading. They knead the kalitsounia (handmade cheese pies with malaka cheese or mizithra, which used to be fried and not in the oven, as is currently the case with the so-called lamps), tsoureki and lambokouloures. The lambokouloura does not have in the middle hole, like the small bagels today for economic reasons and in the center normally three red eggs enter, as much as the Holy Trinity. In general, the dishes and pastries of Easter are dominated by milk, egg and cheese (asshole and anthotyro) that are now abundant, while at Christmas the oil, honey etc. At Easter the godfathers go to their godparents, tha lambrokouloura, red eggs and the candle of the Resurrection (a white candle).



The painting of eggs

On Holy Thursday, women are also consumed with the painting of eggs, which used to be done by the colors of flowers, especially the red poppy. In fact, on the eggs, before they were painted, small flowers were stuck, so their designs were imprinted on them. Red eggs are either in remembrance of the spilled blood of Christ from the spear of the Roman soldier or because this color is an expression of joy due to the coming spring and the Resurrection of the Lord.


The hot(funara) and the burning of Judas

Before the Resurrection (during Lent) all the children of the village collect wood and leave them in the church yard. On the eve of the Resurrection they form a large pile of wood and at the top they have a scarecrow that is supposed to be Judas and while the priest says «Christ has risen» they set fire and burn Judas. The bell of the village rings and shots are fired (a bad custom).



The silent light

As soon as the priest says «come receive light», many with a candle or lantern carry the holy light into their house silently (once they get the light and until they go home they say no words), believing that this will become something good in their home or that this is how the demons will leave.



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