Many people don’t find Easter quite as “sparkly” as Christmas… Easter may not have bright lights, colorful, decorative balls and golden stars… but it does have subtle, pretty colors taken from Mother Nature… aromas from traditional recipes and beautiful moments full of sweets… from homemade, fluffy sweet breads to Easter cookies. It is full of wonderful customs and traditions – simple, little everyday (Easter) traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation and touch a warm place in everyone’s hearts. These customs begin on Holy Monday and stay with you all through Easter Sunday. So, what do you say? Shall we bring to life the traditional Holy Week that was enjoyed in the past… and incorporate them with our own “modern” way of living?
This day marks the beginning of Passion week. Apart from this, it also marks the beginning of all the preparations for the celebration of Easter on Sunday. In the past, housewives would spend all of the day cleaning and organizing their home. The men would whitewash the walls of the home and fill the garden with blossoming flowers that they would plant in red flower pots – the official color of Easter! Follow this tradition and spend the day cleaning and decorating your home. Bring out all the little ducks, bunnies and little chicks to decorate the living room tables…. and fill your vases and pots on the balcony with fresh flowers!
The housewives in the past would finish cleaning the house on Holy Tuesday, while in some areas of Greece they would pick this day to knead their Easter sweet breads by hand and bake them. This is exactly what you should do! As far as the rest of the recipes go…. leave them up to me!!! I have the best recipes for holiday sweet breads and cookies for you! Find the best Sweet bread - Tsoureki here and the most delicious Easter cookies here!
In the past, Holy Wednesday was dedicated to the “Anointing of the sick”. The housewives that went to church would sometimes hold a small bowl of flour. In it, they would place three candles that they would light and burn during the sermon. They would then use this flour for their Easter cookies, that they would make the following day - on Holy Thursday. If you like, you can make these amazing and fun Easter chick cupcakes with your children! You can find the recipe here! A nice idea would be to wrap them in colorful cellophane wrapping paper and give them away as little presents to your children’s godmother, godfather, grandfather and grandmother!
In the past, Holy Thursday’s morning was always dedicated to dying the Easter eggs red, while many housewives would also prepare their Easter cookies and sweet breads. Nowadays it is very difficult to do all of these things in one day – especially if you are working women or mothers. What you can do though, is share all of these things throughout all the days of the week. Whatever you do, try to spend a little time on dying your Easter eggs! There are so many unique and different ways to do this! You can dye them, decorate them, make them look beautiful and have fun doing it! You will find lots of great ideas for all of your Easter eggs here!
This day is characterized by the Greek Orthodox tradition of the “Epitaph” procession… both in the past and in modern times. In the past, mothers used to go with to church with their daughters, who would make garlands to decorate the epitaph. Both younger and older people would take part in the procession and hold dark colored candles and lanterns. The same tradition is still followed today, the only difference being that at the end of it people often go to some tavern or home for a great shrimp pasta or other dishes that are fit for fasting. There are some people who still strictly follow the old traditions and keep the more austere fast for Holy Friday. If you are not following this strict fast, cook up the most amazing Shrimp pasta for your family! Find the recipe here!
Just like Holy Friday, Holy Saturday was also considered a day for strict fasting. Housewives would spend the morning completing all the last minute preparations for their home and for cooking the Greek Easter Magiritsa soup. I have two phenomenal recipes for you… Traditional Magiritsa here and Chicken Magiritsa here.
Greek Easter soup - Magiritsa
Easter Sunday remains a day dedicated to the whole family and is characterized by dancing, singing, good wishes and lots of… food! I highly recommend you include the following amazingly delicious recipes for your Easter feast! Kokoretsi - Greek Easter grill, Honey glazed leg of lamb,or a Rolled leg of lamb with a herb stuffing that all meat lovers will go crazy over! If you or your guests happen to be vegans, I've got you covered also with these amazing selections where you can BBQ like a vegan!!
Rolled leg of lamb with herb stuffing
Wishing all of you a wonderful Holy Week and a super amazing Easter Sunday!!!