Warning: This is a loong post!
This year, I spent Easter in Greece, in Athens. Maybe it was not in a village, where you really feel Easter, but trust me, anywhere in Greece you can feel Easter, as it is maybe the most important holiday. In Greece, Easter doesn't last only for a day, but in order to celebrate Easter Sunday you have to go through the Great Lent,Palm Sunday, Holy week and then there is Easter and Easter week. On Palm Sunday, people go to the church where they get palm tree branches. Afterwards, the tradition is to eat fried cod, it is the one of the two times in the Great Lent that you are allowed to eat fish.
Monday to Saturday before Easter, is called Holy Week. The most important ones are on Wednesday, with the blessing of Holy oil and the Last Supper. Then, Maundy Thursday is when Jesus was crucified. This is happening to the church but you know, with a fake wooden one. During the night, some people stay, mostlyfemales, decorating Jesus grave with flowers
and some old ladies sing funeral songs around the cross.
Also, on Maundy Thursday we dye eggs, mostly red because they represent Jesus blood.
Then there is Good Friday, a mourning day that for some reason is always cloudy. At noon, it is when they take Jesus down from the cross and place his body in the grave. During the afternoon people go and kiss the grave and pass under it crosswise for good luck. During this time, the church bells ring in a mournfull way all day, so people that live next to churches like us can go crazy.
During the night the grave is going around the neighbourhood in a procession and a lot of people go after it with candles, so you have to be very careful about your hair if you still want to have some. People throw flowers from balconies when it is under them and some also throw cologne like the tradition says that they were putting to the dead bodies. Also, on Friday Lent is extra strict and even oil is forbidden.
Then there is Saturday. After midnight on Saturday to Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection. The Holy Light arrives from Jerusalem, to all the churches of the country, the priest takes it out and people share it with each other, then when the priest says Christ resurrected the bells ring in a happy way and we hug and kiss each other.
After this is over we go home, and we eat together mageiritsa, which is our Easter soup, made from liver and other inside parts of the lamb,spring onions, dill and beaten egg and lemon. It might sound disgusting, but if you try it, it might be the best thing you have ever eaten. By the way my grandma's is the best.
And this is the beginning of Easter feast.
On Easter Sunday, people that are in their villages or have gardens make spit-roasted lamb and kokoretsi. The ones that don't have a spit make it in the oven. The preparation of the food starts in the morning, with wine and traditional sons and dances. Families get together, celebrate and eat. It is better if you don't eat any breakfast that day and of course you cannot eat anything else afterwards.
There is a lot of lamb, salad, roast potatoes, tzatziki, feta, anise Easter bread and maybe you will make it through dessert too. We had made a lot of desserts too. Like these chocolate eggs, cheesecake, ice cream. The key is to just eat a little bit of everything and not overdo it to something you like very much, because you still have to try the rest. And just control yourself. If you can.
Here are my filled Chocolate Easter eggs that we also made together with my sister. The rest of the recipes are coming on the next days.
Nutella and wafers filled Chocolate Easter eggs
In Greece, as in other countries of the world, children on Easter get chocolate eggs or chocolate bunnies, from their relatives and the most difficult part is to keep them untouched until Easter day. For these eggs, considering their filling, that mission gets harder.
These chocolate eggs are the same with these nutella and wafers filled chocolate balls that I had made on Anders birthday. The only difference is that instead of shaping them into balls and dipping them in melted chocolate, I poured some melted chocolate into silicon egg molds, poured back the excess chocolate back to the bowl and scratched away the one that was not inside the molds and placed them in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until they got hard.
Afterwards, I took them out, filled them with the nutella filling and covered them with the rest of the melted chocolate. Placed them back in the freezer for 5 minutes and then took them out of the molds. You can do that with any different shape. They are really delicious! It makes about 18, 10 cm chocolate eggs.