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. 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.
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