ATHENS, Greece ( Associated Press) – For the first time in three years, Greeks were able to celebrate Orthodox Easter without the restrictions required by the coronavirus pandemic.
Beyond the obvious religious messages, in Greece, Easter marks a return to the countryside, often to people’s ancestral homes, and a mass exodus from large cities.
Police and port officials say this year’s migration was much higher than in pre-pandemic 2019.
In 2020, there was a total lockdown; In 2021, some people dared to leave cities in violation of long-distance travel rules. The police had blocked national roads to move criminals and impose fines.
This year, churches were full and events were also fully attended. A variety of customs, some preceding Christianity, were observed locally. Friday evening was once again fully attended by a solemn procession of decorated funeral beers, or epitaphs.
Crowds lined the narrow streets of Corfu’s old town on Saturday morning for one of the most spectacular events called ‘Botides’, with a loud bang on the streets below, dropping earthen jars filled with water from balconies, attendees Including people sprinkling water. Locals consider it a miracle that no serious injuries were caused by the flying clay pieces. The original purpose of this ancient event was to drive away evil spirits.
This year, the resurgence was observed once again at midnight on Saturday, when pandemic measures pushed it forward to 9 p.m. last year. By midnight, the ‘Holy Light’ – miraculously lit, believers believe, on Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem – had reached almost all parishes in Greece, arrived in Athens by plane and Greeted with all the honours. Of the state
Festive fireworks, more often than not, are associated with the celebration of the Resurrection. And nowhere are they more so than on the island of Chios, in the village of Vrontado, where two parishes bombard each other with fireworks. Injuries have been far from rare in the past, but none were reported this year. Participants agreed to limit fireworks between 11 p.m. Saturday night and 12:15 a.m. Sunday. Still, more than 10,000 fireworks were launched; Both churches and many houses were covered protectively in chicken wire.
Police announced on Sunday that they had arrested 11 people for trying to light firecrackers in the capital Athens; A recent version involves throwing a firebomb, or Molotov cocktail. Police say they have seized 27 such bombs, several butane canisters and containers filled with gasoline.
The usual slow-roasting of a lamb on Sundays, sometimes with venison, on a spit and the crack of an Easter egg, is traditionally red in colour.
Easter Monday is also a full-fledged holiday, with officials hoping people will have recovered enough to go back home safely through Sunday’s protection.