. The celebrations for Greek Orthodox Easter Pascha from Pashover for those that have not experienced them before become a cherished memory, and every place in Greece has its own characteristic celebratory customs
Their origin is ancient, in Antiquity at least 16 gods including Dionysos the ancient god of wine dying and resurrected The Greek Orthodox Easter, symbolizes the rebirth and the freedom.
For Greek Orthodox Christians Easter is the major religious holiday, and holy week takes on an especially colorful significance, religiously and socially. The rites of Easter in Greece contain a number of features that predate Christianity, like rites of spring, but have been assimilated into the Christian celebrations.
Holy Week is characterized by a deeper sense of spirituality than any other week of the year that bring together Greeks in churches to celebrate the Holy Passion, culminating in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday.
In general, on Holy Thursday, women and children adorn the Epitaphios, the funerary bier of Christ, with flowers, and all parishes vie with each other about which is most beautifully adorned. On Friday the congregation parades the Epitaphios in a funerary procession through the streets conducting the relevant liturgy as they go along.
On Saturday,on the occasion of the proclamation that “Christ has Risen” fireworks are launched, shotguns are fired in the air and generally there is much mayhem as kisses are exchanged between family, friends, and strangers, and the Holy Light is passed to light all candles.
The celebrations for those that have not experienced them before become a cherished memory, and although there is the underlying tow of the Holy Passion, every place in Greece has its own characteristic celebratory customs. Some places though are guaranteed to offer more colorful customs, and some are guaranteed to be a blast.
Vrontados on the island of Chios promises to enthrall those that love fireworks and rockets. On the night of the Resurrection (Saturday after midnight) the locals at two different parishes in Vrontados, bombard each others' churches, situated on opposing hilltops, with thousands of homemade rockets, turning day into night. Occasionally some mishaps take place.
Corfu has its own customs, flavored by centuries of Italian rule. When church bells ring joyfully on Holy Saturday morning, signaling the 'First Resurrection” The inhabitants of the town throw large clay pots called “Botides” from balconies. The pots are festooned with red garlands tied on the handles, and it's considered good luck to gather the garland.
Marpissa, on Paros, prides itself on its Passion Play that begins on Holy Friday retelling stories from the life of Christ. The route of the Epitaphios on Holy Friday is adorned with scenes from the life of Christ, with the participation of local inhabitants dressed in period costumes.
On Santorini, they also celebrate Lazarus Saturday in many villages, especially at Megalochori, where locals raise a giant cross up to 20m in height at the central square, decorated in rosemary sprigs. This symbolizes the Resurrection of Lazarus and stays in place until Holy Saturday, when the decorations are taken down, but not the cross that remains in situ until the Pentecost.
Nafpaktos also offers a great spectacle, as the Epitaphioi of two parishes, St Demetrius, and St Paraskevi, meet at the port that is adorned with a giant burning cross and many torches, in memory of the heroic attempt by fireship captain Anemoyannis to blow up the Turkish flagship in the port.
In Hydra the Epitaphios enters the sea, as the relevant service is sung, while on Easter Sunday, an effigy of Judas is burned hanging from a tree, after being shot by the locals with shotguns.
One of the most picturesque Easter customs takes place at Leonideio, where at the calling of the first “Christos Anesti” (Christ has Risen) thousands of paper ballons with lanterns are let loose to fly over the sea, as fireworks are launched, and an effigy of Judas is burned on a pile of branches.
" In a city with limited open space, the well-tended gardens of the old cemetery are a pleasant, if quirky, place to stroll. The resting places of rich and famous Greeks and philhellenes have some lavish tombstones by leading 19th-century sculptors, including The Sleeping Maiden by Halepas and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann's mausoleum, decorated with Trojan War scenes." (Lonely Planet)
Although this is not the first choice of tourists, however the first cemetery of Athens is like walking in an art gallery. Not only famous Greek people are buried there but some foreigners such as Heinrich Schliemann, whose tomb was designed by Ernst Ziller.
The First Cemetery of Athens is a beat off experience, is like walking in an Art Gallery
Discover the famous sculptures there, we stop for a coffee in the historical Mets Neighborhood beside, while listening the modern history of the area. Continue exploring the Mythical Hill of Ardittos where is located the Panathinaic Stadium.
Follow our steps and get lost in Athens
"Archaeologists have discovered two mass graves near the Greek capital containing the skeletons of 80 men who may have been followers of ancient would-be tyrant Cylon of Athens.
Regional archaeological services director Stella Chryssoulaki laid out the theory Thursday as she unveiled the findings at the Central Archaeological Council, the custodians of Greece’s ancient heritage.
Given “the high importance of these discoveries”, the council is launching further investigations, the culture ministry said in a statement.
Two small vases discovered amongst the skeletons have allowed archaeologists to date the graves from between 675 and 650 BC, “a period of great political turmoil in the region”, the ministry said.
The skeletons were found lined up, some on their backs and others on their stomachs. A total of 36 had their hands bound with iron.
They were discovered during excavations at an ancient cemetery on Athens’ seaside outskirts, on the construction site of the new National Library of Greece and National Opera.
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Archaeologists found the teeth of the men to be in good condition, indicating they were young and healthy.
This boosts the theory that they could have been followers of Cylon, a nobleman whose failed coup in the 7th century BC is detailed in the accounts of ancient historians Herodotus and Thucydides.
Cylon, a former Olympic champion, sought to rule Athens as a tyrant. But Athenians opposed the coup attempt and he and his supporters were forced to seek refuge in the Acropolis, the citadel that is today the Greek capital’s biggest tourist attraction.
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The conspirators eventually surrendered after winning guarantees that their lives would be spared.
But Megacles, of the powerful Alcmaeonid clan, had the men massacred — an act condemned as sacrilegious by the city authorities.
Historians say this dramatic chapter in the story of ancient Athens showed the aristocracy’s resistance to the political transformation that would eventually herald in 2,500 years of Athenian democracy "
Part of the mass grave and other significant findings close to the center of Athens in the ancient cemetery that was unearthed during the excavation for the construction of the Opera and the Library, from a private foundation in public land. Unfortunately the greek ministry of culture and the private organization aren't going to preserve them in situ, not because of the contsruction of the buildings but because they refuse to fund the continue of excavation