Put simply, Easter in Greece is kind of a big deal. While Orthodox Easter is celebrated in many different ways around the globe, Greek tradition definitely makes it a memorable occassion, filled with lots of loud fun, excessive amounts of food and plenty of input from YiaYia.
Whether you’re blessed with Greek heritage or not, there’s never been a better reason to celebrate traditions (or adopt some new ones) to keep you entertained and painfully full, all weekend at home.
Red-dyed eggs are an important part of Greek Easter tradition and they’re the ultimate activity for the arts and crafts lover—which might just be all of us right now. All you need is eggs, vinegar, olive oil for shining and depending on whether you’re dying naturally or with dye, you’ll need red food dye or onions. If you want to really step it up a notch, you can even design the eggs with patterns using leaves and herbs.
If you’re Greek, you’ll already know what’s going down with those eggs. If not, you’ll be pleased to know your labour will now be put to good use. Traditionally on Saturday evening, you play a Greek game called ‘Tsougrisma’ where each person selects an egg and cracks them against someone else's. The person's egg who doesn’t crack wins and plays the next person. Seems simple enough, but somehow YiaYia always finds a way to win. When you’re done playing the game you can then peel all of the cracked eggs, cut and serve with salt and vinegar. The perfect post-game snack.
Friday Night Festivities
Those in Greek families would be aware of the traditional Good Friday church ceremony where they carry the Epitaph (an elaborate wooden bier adorned with fresh flowers) around the church while people follow with candles. If iso has you longing for old-time traditions, why not try making your own Epitaphios and get your housemates to light a candle and cut a few laps around the house. Just be sure to wear candle wax-resistant shoes, this can usually get pretty messy.
Saturday Evening Soup
Traditionally made of the tripe from Sunday Lamb, a lot of Greeks have transitioned into making Avgolemono. Avgolemono is the Greek version of a typical chicken noodle soup and is a cult favourite amongst all Greeks. It serves as the ultimate comfort cure and always somehow manages to make you feel better when you’re under the weather. If you didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing this during childhood, you can make it here and thank us later.
Sunday Roast Lamb
The crescendo of any Greek Easter is the Sunday roast lamb. If you’re planning on going full traditional, you’ll need to make it on the spit, which means waking up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to start the coals and begin basting the lamb. This usually takes five to six hours to slow cook to perfection and if you’re from a Greek family, it’s usually sidelined with some outrageous banter between the greek men of the house on how to cook it best. But if you’re not up for the 6am start, there's plenty of oven recipes to suffice. Just make sure to serve with loads of potatoes, lemon wedges and litres of gravy. Let the Sunday food coma ensue.
It’s time to ditch any hope of a post Easter iso shred and join in on the delicious fare, festivities and fun. Yamas!
For more epic food and drink inspiration to get you through the weekend, head here.
Image Credit: Soroush Karimi