Wednesday, April 20, 2011

""Xronia Polla! Kalo Pascha! Christos Anesti"!

That is the greeting which Greeks give to one another at Easter, it means; "Many Years! Good Easter! Christ has Arisen!"
The Easter Service begins on Saturday night at 11:00.

Here on Salamina, we walk to the small area church with our Labadas (Easter Candles). Our Labadas are simple, plain white thin tapers, but they can get very elaborate, decorated with flowers and even with small toys attached! (they can get VERY pricey, too!)
Our area church is quite small, as most village churches are, and most of the people wait outside, listening to the liturgy on a loud speaker, but mostly chatting and visiting with friends and neighbors they may not have seen since last Easter. At the stroke of midnight, the Pappas joyfully announces; "Christos Anesti!" ("Christ Has Arisen!"). He then begins to light the candles of those close to him, his flame having originated from the Mother Church in Sofia, Turkey, and in turn people light the candles of those close to them and so on thru the crowd. Custom dictates that you cheek kiss and proclaim "Christos Anesti" and you are answered; "Alithos Anesti" ("Truly he has Arisen!").

It is beautiful and very moving to be a participant in this lovely custom. Families then carry the flame back to their home, where the head of the house makes a sign of the cross on the door lintels of the home.

A funny post script to this custom; Vasili and I painted our house a few years back, and the long row of black smoke crosses were erased by the paint. In the coming year, a series of unfortunate things occurred...and on the next Easter, I barely held back my giggles as I watched Vasili put not one, but 3 crosses above each door. Guess he was taking no chances

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