Easter in Greece: How to Celebrate Like a Local

How Greeks celebrate Easter is definitely loud and delicious. Easter is perhaps the most favorite holiday for Greeks. Why? Two simple reasons, and a more complex one. The first one is, of course, food. The second is the festivity. The third is linked to religion that has brought about many customs and ceremonies that the Greeks kept alive. If you visit Greece during the Orthodox Easter you are sure to eat well, be part of an incredible all-day feast, and get to experience some moving traditions, regardless of which Greek destination you choose. Let’s delve a little deeper into how Greeks celebrate Easter.

Easter in Greece

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Last-minute plans? Check these top picks

Getting there
Book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.

Where to stay in Greece
If you’re looking for accommodation in Greece, compare offers on Booking.com and Hotels.com. If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb, here you can find great deals. Check alternatives on Tripadvisor.

Top-rated tours in Greece
Athens: Acropolis Small-Group Guided Tour with Entry Ticket (Top pick from US$ 71.23).
Crete: Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos (From US$ 29.65).
Santorini: Guided Winery Tour (From US$ 72.50).
Mykonos: The Original Morning Delos Guided Tour (Traditional best-seller from US$ 65).
Zakynthos: Navagio Shipwreck Beach & Blue Caves Tour (From US$ 53.25).

Value for money
Athens: Combo Ticket Pass for Museums & Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (City card from US$ 65).

Need cash?
I’m obsessed with Transferwise! The best online money transfer service: Ridiculously low fees to exchange currency and debit cards accepted all over Greece.

Touring Greece by car?
I use both Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com to reach places where my old jalopy won’t take me.

Are you covered?
For complete peace of mind, it’s always better to have travel insurance. Check quotes on World Nomads.

Greek Easter: Traditional food and treats

Meat is back on the menu, and since Greeks are big meat lovers, this is a fact to celebrate in itself. A gradual fasting period begins 40 days before Easter, starting on Clean Monday, which is spiritually symbolic.

The purpose of fasting is to cleanse the body (and mind) of toxins. It a way of paying reverence to the Passions of Christ. Following his Resurrection, everyone enjoys homemade goodies.

It is typical for Greek households to bake Easter cookies, known as koulourakia, and a sweet, milk bread called tsoureki while places like Corfu will have their own take on these Easter classics. For example, their tsoureki is called fogatsa and adds their local kumquat fruit into the mix.

>> Looking for a place to stay in Corfu during Easter? Check these awesome Airbnbs in Corfu >>

Greek Customs from Corfu.
Greek Customs from Corfu.

During the Holy Week before Easter Sunday, locals dye hard-boiled eggs in, symbolizing the blood of Christ. Each family member receives one of these on the Resurrection dinner, where a special tripe soup, the magiritsa, is the dish of the hour. And cracking the egg begins.

However, on Easter Sunday is when a proper feast is in order. The kokoretsi, a gyros kind of meat delicacy, is crackling over the fire. As is the customary lamb, both on a spit, roasted for many. Accompanied by dips of many kinds, meze such as slices of the Easter eggs. There are cold cuts, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and rusks.

Not forgetting the legendary tzatziki that goes so well with meat treats, smoked eggplant dip, and various salads. In Crete, it is usual to taste the local twisted pasta called sioufichta. As are delicious pies of all kinds, both vegetarian versions, and ones that also include a little bit of meat. 

How Greeks celebrate Easter, the food
Greek Easter Feast.

Customs and traditions in Greece during Easter

Easter is the ultimate Springtime highlight. Essentially a great opportunity to combine great Greek food with great Greek weather. It is also the perfect excuse to do what Greeks do best: Have a feast of epic proportions!

The Sunday feast takes place on an outdoor table and it involves a fair amount of alcohol. Plenty of wine and ouzo or tsipouro. Whenever Greeks get around a table and say yia mas (cheers) what happens is the word is kefi (joy, spirit, passion, happiness – no English word can convince the meaning).

As Greeks like to feel united in merriment, they often celebrate in tavernas where strangers end up as friends. One great example is the Easter Sunday feast on Paros. Paros is renowned for its vibrant Easter feast in the village of Naoussa and its main square right on the harbor. Here, four tavernas meet, and on Easter Sunday the square becomes a huge eating, drinking, and dancing festival.

>> Discover everything about Easter in Santorini <<

Easter festivities and ceremonies in Greece

The Cyclades take Easter quite seriously. Santorini has one truly impressive Easter custom in Pyrgos village. Pyrgos is one of the less-known towns of Santorini, during Easter, it takes on a leading role. The entire town is illuminated with torches on Good Friday, creating a true spectacle to behold.

How Greeks celebrate Easter, Pyrgos Santorni on Easter
Pyrgos, Santorini

Looking for a place to stay in Santorini during Easter?
>> Hotels sell too fast! Check the best Airbnbs in Santorini <<

In the Chora of Folegandros, each household is literally open from Good Friday onwards. It is a way of accepting the litany of the Epitaph as it makes its way throughout the island. On Easter Tuesday, the blessed icon of the Virgin Mary is taken aboard every fishing boat in Karavostassis.

Easter customs in the Ionian also change from place to place. For example, in Zakynthos, the Good Friday litany is quite a low key, different from other Greek destinations. The Epitaph takes place early in the morning of Holy Saturday. It has no in flowers, it is quite plain and frugal, symbolizing the overbearing loss that has no room for colors.

In Corfu, however, everything has a flamboyant note. The philharmonic orchestra follows the Epitaph. On Holy Saturday at 11 am, people throw jugs of water from the balconies of Liston, making for a truly thrilling display of excitement.               

If the above is all Greek to you, then you have clearly not experienced a Greek Easter. Put it on your bucket list!

Are you ready to explore Greece? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. If you happen to also tour West Crete, check this guide. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!

Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!

Coming to Greece any time soon? These resources will help you organize the trip!

Start by heading right to my Greece travel guide for in-depth details you need to know about Greece. You can also check my post to plan a trip to Greece with children!

Probably, you’re planning to experience the thrilling island-hopping experience. Head to this article and read about the best cruise ports in Greece.

To have updated information about the island of Crete, as well as about the rest of Greece, join my private group on Facebook about Crete and download a copy of my West Crete Travel Guide to have it always with you if you visit Crete!

Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!

I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.

When driving around, I pack my Nikon D7200. In Summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive. Always bring with you a good travel guide! Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.

Airfares to Greece can change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece, book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.

If I need to book accommodation, I personally use different search engines. Booking.com and Hotels.com are my go-to options.

Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place and make the most of your time is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and even airport transfer!

Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Greece!

These articles about Greece have been thought just for you!

If you’re curious about traveling the Greek islands, check the most amazing places to visit in Greece. Crete is my favorite island of all, and these 50 unmissable things to do in Crete is a great article from where to start planning a visit. Greece is also an ideal place for scuba diving, here you can discover where to do it on the islands.

Head to this article to check the best ports for cruises in Greece. This guide, instead, shows you the best things you can do in Athens if you visit for three days. If you have less time in the capital of Greece, find inspiration in this article describing all you can do if you have one day to spend in Athens.

Would you like to experience Easter in Greece?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Easter in Greece
Easter in Greece
Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

About the Author

Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!

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