Greek Easter Resurrection Night / Video



”Christos Anesti!” The Feast of the Resurrection and the Triumph of Life over Death

 The death and resurrection of Jesus, the foundation event of the Christian faith, has remained for millennia one of the most important celebrations in the Liturgical calendar, commemorated by Easter. Greeks are deeply rooted in Orthodoxian tradition and spirituality, giving special importance to “Anastasis”, the night of Holy Saturday, in which the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated.


 

 In Hersonissos at midnight, the little old church dug in the rock “Agia Paraskevi” together with the nearby promenade become overcrowded. The local families and tourists gather around the church to attend the Divine Liturgy, waiting patiently to receive with great emotion the Holy Light, the symbol of the triumph of life over death and the eternity of the soul.

 At the door of the church, people are waiting in line. Believers worship at the icons and light candles. For the Holy Light, most of them have festive candles from home, called lambdas (λαμπάδες), beautifully decorated with ribbons, flowers, and shells. 

 For the solemnity of the event, the parish priest officiates the liturgical celebration in the presence of the City Mayor and other representatives of local authorities. From the church, his voice is carried out through the loudspeakers, spreading the word of the Lord over the silent audience.


 

 The long-awaited moment has arrived. The priest spreads the Holy Light brought out from the altar. Once out the church door, it stretches everywhere in waves. By lighting their candles from one another, people hug and spread symbolically the good news: "Christos Anesti! / Χριστός Ανέστη! / Christ is risen!" followed by the enthusiastic reply: ”Alithos Anesti / Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! / He is Risen Indeed!"

The traditional hymn is also sung. Translated, it means “Christ is risen from the dead. By his death, he has trampled down death. To those in the tomb, he gave eternal life.” On the night of the Resurrection, in the spirit of Jesus' teachings, light and love are multiplied by sharing.


 

 While the bells vigorously announce the work of the miracle, a huge fire, symbolizing the burning of Judas the traitor is spontaneously ignited, illuminating the sky. Fireworks and firecrackers are launched above the sea. The entire city reverberates, enjoying the spectacle.

 In Greece, major religious holidays such as Christmas, and Easter, are transformed into street parties.  Christian customs and traditions are adapted to the modern society lifestyle, still preserving their ritualic and communal character.


 

 After more than one month of fasting culminating with the Holy Week observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus and his death, mourned in the Epitaph,  it’s time for the party, fun, and rich meals. Carrying the burning candles in their hands, people are moving towards their homes or taverns to start the traditional feast. Eager to try the Easter traditional goodies in the local taverns, tourists have made reservations in advance.



 The city is now vivid and buzzy, but at the church, the service continues with the participation of the most worthy and devout parishioners.  Outside, above the bell tower, the Greek cross and the flag stand together, sacred symbols of the spiritual power of the Greek people: unity in the Orthodox Christian faith and the Church's belonging to the national entity.



 If you arrive in Crete during Easter, you will be pleasantly impressed by the authentic spirit of the Easter holidays and the beautiful millennial Orthodox traditions, which have remained just as alive, despite centuries of foreign domination.

Let's be happy and rejoice! Χριστός Ανέστη! Christos Anesti! Christ is risen!