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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10- Great and Holy Thursday. In Greek, it's called [Μεγάλη Πέμπτη]
The Great and Holy Thursday is the fourth day of the Holy Week. Holy week is called [Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα], and is the week before Easter Sunday. This week is also called Passion Week or in Greek [Εβδομάδα των Παθών]. The Great and Holy Thursday is dedicated to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and His Twelve Apostles, to the betrayal of Judas, and to the beginning of the Passion of Christ, which is the final period of Jesus’s life starting from His trip to Jerusalem and ending in His crucifixion.
In this lesson you will learn about the customs of the Great and Holy Thursday.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
There is a famous Greek expression that has to do with Judas and his betrayal. Do you know what this is?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
According to the Gospels, the "Last Supper" or [Μυστικός Δείπνος] was the name of the last dinner Christ shared with His disciples, from which the Holy Communion originates. Before supper, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in a demonstrative act of humility. After they dined together, He went to the Mount of Olives or [Όρος των Ελαιών] in Greek to pray, where he was arrested by the Romans. Jesus had been betrayed by Judas, who had left the supper early to alert the Romans of His whereabouts.
Because the color red, or in Greek [κόκκινο], symbolizes the blood of Christ, it is tradition for Greeks to dye Easter eggs red on Great and Holy Thursday, and to spread a red cloth over windows and balconies. Dyeing Easter eggs requires gloves and an apron, otherwise stains are inevitable. Caution is also needed when adding the red color to water to create the dye, since the finely-ground colored powder is very light and easily blown onto surrounding surfaces, or onto you!
Greeks also make Easter shortbreads and a type of brioche or [τσουρέκι] on Great and Holy Thursday, but refrain from doing other chores around the house. In churches, from the night of Great and Holy Thursday until the morning of Great and Holy Friday, some churchgoers—mainly women—stay and mourn for Christ. In Greek, “to mourn” is [θρηνώ]. During this time, the decorations for the Bier of Christ is being prepared, which we will learn about in the next lesson.
The Easter bread [τσουρέκι] is a kind of sweet bread with a circular or braided shape. It is usually sprinkled with sliced almond and has a red egg placed on top. The bread has a unique taste because it’s infused with mahlab, an aromatic spice made from the St. Lucie cherry seeds. It tastes like a combination of bitter almond and cherry. Other ingredients that can also be used in the bread include mastic from Chios, cardamom and vanilla. Many godparents offer [τσουρέκι] to their godchildren as a gift for Easter, along with chocolate eggs and a tall candle that is used on the night of the Resurrection.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
There is a famous Greek expression that has to do with Judas and his betrayal. Do you know what this is?
The expression is "the kiss of Judas," or in Greek [το φιλί του Ιούδα]. It refers to the kiss that Judas gave Jesus on the Mount of Olives to identify Him to the Romans intent on His arrest. This expression is used in reference to a traitor, or someone who cheats but never admits to it.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have any similar customs in your country?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

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Do you have similar customs that Greek people have for Great and Holy Thursday in your country?