Lent or Sarakosti (40 day fast) started on Clean Monday. Starting the night before, the children kissed the hand of their grandfather, their grandmother, their father and their mother. They embraced and kissed their brothers and sisters. On Clean Monday, those who were devout in their faith went to church, performed Holy Communion, took holy bread, and from there onwards whoever could fast for the entire 40 days did so. On the first 3 days, they wouldn't eat or drink anything, not even water. 

During the 40 days, coffee houses remained open and many attended, however nobody danced. Every Friday they attended church service. As the week of Easter arrived, they cleaned their houses, their yards and the entire village. On the last Saturday before Easter (named St. Lazarus) they made Kerkele otherwise known as ‘koulouria' (biscuits made from sweet bread) and on the following day (Palm Sunday) they would give them to children along with white eggs while they sang psalms.

During Holy Week there would be no work. Every day they would attend church. On Easter Thursday they baked bread and made tsourekia, and painted the eggs red. At nights they would attend church for Gospel service (Dodeka Evanggelia). They took 12 objects with them to church so that they would be blessed for good luck throughout the year. On Good Friday, they attended church and passed under the Epitaph , they performed Holy Communion and then at 3.00 am they ate soup. On Easter Saturday whoever didn't make their tsourekia would do so. They sacrificed a lamb, chickens and roosters and they began preparing for Easter Day. The parents also bought presents for the children.

On the night of Easter, they stayed up all night. After 2.00am and at the first sound of the roosters crowing, the church bell would ring. The entire village would then make it's way to church. After 4.00am there would be a liturgy. Some stayed till the end whilst others went home earlier. They would say ‘Christos Anesti' (Christ has risen) and then partake in the custom of ‘tsougrisma' the breaking of red eggs. In small groups of 3 or 4, the older folk would visit each house in the village, and along with the Pontian lyra would sing, dance, break eggs, and offer the householder some ouzo. The second part of Easter was at midday. Again people would attend church. After church service all the village folk would gather in the village square or in a school yard and someone would play the ‘Gayda' (bagpipe) and everyone would dance to celebrate the end of fasting. The children would play games by rolling their red eggs along the ground. Whoever had the strongest egg would take the other's eggs.


 

Recommended

Go to top