Easter in Cyclades and Easter in Greece, in general, is the celebration of spring and Orthodoxy. Easter in many of the Greek islands is special and unique. It also helps to get away from the classic Greek island stereotype – sun – summer – sea, as we get in touch with the real culture of the islands.
The celebration of the Resurrection of Christ is very special, as many of the islands are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The religious element is very strong and important. The traditions remain unchanged as the years and seasons pass. Holy Week and the Passions of Christ are revived each year, honoring Him. Easter customs in the Cyclades, culminate on Easter Sunday with wonderful feasts and barbecues.
Easter in the Cyclades – Popular destinations
All islands of the Cyclades are getting ready for the Easter celebrations and the most popular destinations include Andros, Mykonos, Sifnos, Santorini, and Syros.
Andros is welcoming Easter with abundant joy and anticipation. Every year it prepares a series of wonderful customs of the island and Orthodoxy. Its wonderful Easter dishes, such as Lambriatis, the fantastic “war of the fireworks”, but also tsounia, the Andrian “bowling”, are customs that will fascinate you.
On the other hand, Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, is characterized by the two churches that dominate the two hills of Ermoupolis. One church is Orthodox and the other Catholic, offering a unique Easter experience. The epitaph of the Orthodox and Catholic churches meet at Miaouli Square, where crowds of people follow. At the Orthodox church on Vrontado Hill in Ermoupolis, the First Resurrection is accompanied by the loud clanging of stalls.
Mykonian and Santorinian delicacies
In Mykonos, women make “Lazarakia” – bread shaped like people. On Good Friday, the procession of the Epitaph takes place at Matogianni. On Holy Saturday the Resurrection at the monastery of Paleokastro in Ano Mera is worth experiencing. In Sifnos, the custom of the Resurrection “greeting” is celebrated and lasts for forty days. On Maundy Thursday, housewives prepare the traditional “birds of Lambri” (Easter buns in various shapes of animals and birds) decorated with red eggs. Finally, don’t forget to try the Sifnos Mastelo, a delicious lamb with dill and local red wine.
Finally, in Santorini, on Lazarus Saturday, in the village squares, the locals set up Lazarus. It is a huge wooden cross wrapped with flowers. On Holy Saturday, after the Resurrection, it is customary for the residents to eat “sgardoumia”, a variation of “magiritsa”. On Easter Sunday, many villages of the island set up the “Obreos”. Then ‘trials’ are held, where the inhabitants condemn him to death, hang him and burn him with dynamite.
Easter in the Cyclades – The wonderful Andros
As we said before, Easter in Andros is very special and worth experiencing. Andros ” puts on” its spring dress and prepares to welcome a number of wonderful customs of the island. Each village has a special beauty and a unique way of celebrating the customs of Holy Week. From the pilgrimage of the epitaphs to the Resurrection of Christ, a day that Andros celebrates with euphoria and endless celebration.
Easter Sunday in Andros features the traditional “Lambriatis”, the traditional goat/lamb of Lambri. It is delicious and filled with local products, such as Andriotic cheese and fresh vegetables. It is a dish that is not missing from any Easter table in Andros. On the same day, the “war of fireworks” begins, similar to the “rocket war” of Chios.
If you are not a big fan of fireworks and loud noises you can spend the afternoon of Easter Sunday in Paleopolis or Korthi. There you will watch “tsunia”, a traditional game similar to bowling, but with differences. Nine sticks are set up in threes on the ground and players try to throw down as many sticks as they can. However, whoever manages to hit the center stick without hitting any others wins the most points.