Few places in the world take Easter as seriously as the Greeks. It is a giant celebration of the most important holiday on the Greek calendar. It is a special thing to witness and be a part of. If you’re looking to see what it’s all about and plan your trip, it’s important to remember that Greek Orthodox Easter usually falls on a different day from Western Catholic Easter.
Planning Your Trip
If you’re looking to come to Greece for Easter, it is best to arrive before Palm Sunday to take part in as many of the Holy Week services and events as you can. No matter where you go, you’re guaranteed to have a great experience, but I’ve compiled a list of my favourite locations throughout the years. All offer something unique
If you can make it to any Easter celebration in Greece, Crete would be at the top of my list. All the churches are beautifully decorated, altars and even the floors are strewn with flowers. The island just comes alive. What’s most unique about Crete is that no matter where you go, you still get a hometown feel. It feels like everyone knows everyone, including you. Cretans are so friendly and social, even if you visit alone, you’ll never feel that way. You’ll be welcomed with open arms and invited to every party on the Island. You’ll find Lamb roasting on a spit right in Chania’s Venetian harbour, fish on the grill, and carts of fruits and vegetables. Before Easter Sunday is a vegetarian delight as Greeks won’t eat meat until Sunday dinner. On this day, it is not easy avoiding meat.
For a more moving experience Santorini puts on a spectacular event. Unlike the rest of Greece, the main event here takes place on the night of Good Friday. Villagers of the hilltop village of Pyrgos light up thousands of aluminum cans and place them at every church, every rooftop, every house, every laneway, until the entire village becomes lit with candlelight. Thousands of people then start a procession through the streets holding candles symbolizing Christ’s funeral procession.
For one of the largest Easter celebrations in Greece Corfu is likely the most popular. Millions of tourists flock to the streets all week so finding accommodations becomes a necessity as soon as possible. The main event here happens at 11 am sharp on Easter Sunday when the resurrection of Christ is announced and church bells all ring. This is when people in their balconies throw red earthenware pots down into the streets as a sign of renewal and renunciation of evil. It is not only fun but also quite a spiritual event
This is the Easter celebration for us kids at heart. In the town of Vrodados, two Orthodox churches built on opposing hilltops, a mere 400m away from eachother launch homemade rockets and fireworks at each other while church services are held inside. The result is a full out rocket war that lights up the night sky
No matter where you go for Easter in Greece you won’t be disappointed. It is the single most important holiday in the Orthodox calendar and it is an event to behold anywhere. Have fun!!!
If you have any experiences of your own you want to share or tips for my next Easter here I’d love to know!