An Orthodox Easter in Cyprus
Most of the world has already finished celebrating Easter – we are in fact talking about the Catholic rite – but a part of the Christian world is currently celebrating the Holy Week looking forward to this weekend’s Easter. An Orthodox Easter in Cyprus will give you an insight into the particularities of the Oriental way of celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord.
Basically, the similarities between the Catholic and the Orthodox Easter are great, but there are particularities to consider. Considering themselves the rightful descendants of the Byzantine Original Church, the masses and the customs popular in paleo-Christianity are followed very closely.
The official religion of Cyprus is Orthodox Christian, so the above mentioned concepts apply here. The Resurrection of the Lord is celebrated with the greatest holiday in the calendar in Cyprus. It falls on the first Sunday that comes after the spring equinox full moon.
The Great Lent precedes Easter and lasts for 50 days. It is called “Sarakosti” and involves abstaining from eating meat, milk and its derivatives and oil.
The Easter season officially begins on Palm Sunday, one week before the Easter Sunday, when people come to church with olive and palm leaves and commemorate the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem with a small procession.
A traditional Easter dish is Flaounes, which is baked with cheese, raisins, mint and eggs. Its shape is triangular or square. People in Cyprus also dye boiled eggs red, blue and other colors on Holy Thursday.
The Midnight Sermon is the time people come to church to light candles and enjoy the moment of Resurrection.
A local tradition, however, is “Lambratzia”, allegorically burning the traitor Judas in the churchyard, a tradition very popular among the little ones.
If you come to Cyprus, you might need a Paphos airport transfer to begin your Easter holiday with a smile on your face!