Saturday, April 18, 2009
Orthodox Easter is often celebrated at a different time to Western Easter. This is because the Orthodox church retained the Julian calendar after the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Europe in 1582. This year, Easter in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania etc. falls on 19th April. Accordingly, yesterday was Good Friday.
Good Friday is a day of mourning. In the morning, people attend church to help decorate a symbolic coffin with flowers, which is called the Epitaphios. This is carried around each town in a procession lamenting the death of Christ. People follow this procession singing hymns and holding lit candles.
Once the procession is over, the Epitaphios is placed inside the church.
People queue to pray and pay their respects one last time.
You may notice the sides of this Epitaphios bear no flowers. This is because people have pulled the flowers off and taken them home as they're considered to be blessed.
After the service and procession, we went for a walk around town, and took some photos of the decorations and shop windows. There were Easter eggs and ladybirds everywhere.
These are decorated Easter candles, which children (and sometimes adults) take to church on Saturday night for the midnight Easter service.
Godparents buy Easter candles for their godchildren, along with chocolate eggs, special Easter bread and shoes or clothes.
The is one of the funniest pictures I took. It's the window of a children's clothes shop, suitably decorated with a farm theme. One of the chickens must have tried to escape, but then discovered it couldn't fly...