Christ has risen

“Christos Anesti” !

One hour before midnight everybody goes to the church, each carrying an unlit candle (it’s called “lambada” and is often given as gift to children from their God-parents). These candles can be lavishly decorated with favorite children’s heroes or storybook characters and are only used for the Easter midnight service). The churches are crowded and it is not uncommon for many people to stay outside of the church. The mass can be heard from loudspeakers placed outside

Later during the mass, all lights in the church will be turned off and then the priest will exit the altar with a candle lit by the Holy Light. The Holy Light is transferred by plane from Jerusalem, where it appears in a miraculous way in the Holy Sepulchre (Tomb of Christ). The Holy Light is distributed by the priest to all people in and out of the church. If people can get back home without their flame going out it, is said they will have a good year.

When all the candles are lit, a few minutes before midnight the priest exits the church and announces the resurrection of Christ (Christos Anesti): the congregation enters the streets chanting “Christ has risen” over and over giving each other the “kiss of love” while chanting “He has risen indeed”. In ports ship blow their whistles

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life”

At that moment fireworks and crackers go off and the dark night is filled with light and colourful explosions. Families and relatives kiss each other and wish “Hronia Polla”

On the way home members try not to extinguish their candles. The candle is then used to trace a cross inside the house and to light a small candle in front of the family alter. This is for the protection of the house for the coming year. At home a special meal is prepared, the traditional mageiritsa soup. After the Resurrection of Christ (Anastasi), the Easter Lent is finished and Christians may eat animal products again. Mageiritsa is a soup served only this night and it is made of the lamb’s internal organs: liver, heart, lungs and intestines with an egg-lemon sauce and herbs. After having the soup, red eggs are cracked. Every member of the family will choose an egg and then try to crack the eggs of the others with his own. At the end, only one egg will remain uncracked and the owner will have good luck

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