Easter in Crete is certainly something for itself as it is the most important holiday of the year. Today, Sunday, is the celebration of the Greek Orthodox Easter where the day is enjoyed to its fullest by serving many traditional recipes in the company of family and friends.
Greek Orthodox households grill a whole lamb – “souvla”, as it symbols Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, and eat “kokoretsi” which is the lamb’s liver wrapped with the intestines. During Easter, the Greeks greet each other with the phrase “Christ has risen” and respond with “Truly he has risen”.
In the Orthodox tradition, eggs are the symbol of new life. The custom is to dye hard-boiled Easter eggs in a deep red color, symbolizing life, victory and the blood of Jesus Christ.
Every Easter, a game called Tsougrisma is played, and here is a quick lesson:
- Each player selects a red egg and finds an opponent. (Choose wisely!)
- One person has to say, “Chistos Anesti” (Christ has risen)… The other replies, “Alithos Anesti” (Indeed He has risen).
- The person who said “Christos Anesti” taps the end of his or her egg lightly against the end of the opponent’s egg. (The goal is to crack the opponent’s egg.)
- When one end is cracked, the winner uses the same end of her or his egg to try to crack the other end of the opponent’s egg.
- The player who successfully cracks the eggs of the other players is declared the winner and, it is said, will have good luck during the year.