Easter In Cyprus
Easter in Cyprus is one of the the biggest religious events in the Greek Orthodox Church and celebrated by every family on the Island.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week in the Greek Orthodox Religion and Easter Weekend celebrates the end of it when Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
On the Wednesday in Holy Week, all over Cyprus families make Flaounes the traditional Cypriot cake/bread (it seems to be both a a cake and a bread)...
...while on Holy Thursday after the morning mass they take eggs and dye them red to signify the blood of christ that was shed.
In the Catholic calender this is know as Maundy Thursday when a solemness decends over the church and the statues are covered in purple cloth.
On Holy Friday morning, or Good Friday as known in the Catholic Church girls undertake the decoration of the bier of Christ (Epitaphios) with flowers, so that it is ready to receive the image of the body of Christ when He is taken down from the cross.
Good Friday is a day of mourning and is treated with great reverence and respect.
During the evening of this day a procession of decorated Sepulchres takes place in all parishes around 8.30pm in the evening.
On the Saturday evening of this week the resurrection mass also known as Midnight Mass takes place in every church on the island.
At midnight all the lights are extinguished in the church and the priest comes out to greet everyone at the alter carrying a candle.
People light their candles and carefully take home their lighted candles that signify the holy light of the Resurrection.
A huge bonfire is lit in the churchyard to burn Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus and if you are out and about you will see many fires all over Cyprus. There will be a few fireworks too so the night sky will be ablaze, a bit like bonfire night.
It is a bit scary if you don't know what is happening and you think you might need to call the Fire Brigade...lol!
On Easter Sunday it is the ultimate day of celebration!
Fasting has ended which began after Green or Clean Monday and the Carnival In Limassol and families either stay home and cook or take to the beaches for a big barbecue and roast a whole lamb in celebration.
Chances are you won't find any restaurant open today, as everyone wants to be home with their family.
If you want the best easter in cyprus experience take to the villages for some wonderful traditions that have never changed over the years.
There will be flowers, food and a lot of smiling faces and they will welcome you with open arms and may ask you to join them for easter in cyprus.
This year Easter in Cyprus is on Apr 24 2011
Our Easter Experience - Baking In Kolossi Village Limassol
As we lived in Kolossi Village, we had our own experience of Easter in Cyprus.
Our next door neighbours had their own little bakery in the heart of the village, and quite a few people came with their bread and flaounes for baking in their fournos which was a wood burning stove.
The smell leading up to Easter weekend was just incredible with all of the dough baking for a number of hours.
Pick up trucks would arrive with dough, leave for a couple of hours and then come back and pick up the finished article.
Amazing site really and a unique experience for us living in Cyprus. We knew for sure we would never see that kind of sight over easter in a Sainsbury car park.
A Funny Story...
We remember one time we were looking over the wall of our house because it looked straight into the street and we were across the road from the little bakery.
We wanted to see what was going on and enjoy the spectacle.
Someone came to pick up their freshly baked flaounes, they must have put about 100 in the back of their pick-up truck, on a big bread tray, and because there were so many, they had to leave the back of the truck open and part of the tray hung over the edge.
The poor driver had to stop suddenly, for a cat or something and all those lovely freshly baked items flew out of the back of the truck onto the road.
You have never see the local neighbourhood dog population move so quick. They must have thought they were in doggy heaven.
Needless to say there were not many left by the time the animals had finished with them.
Poor man, his wife was going to kill him when he got home. How was he going to explain that one?
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