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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 13- Easter Sunday. In Greek, it's called [Κυριακή του Πάσχα].
Easter, otherwise known as [Λαμπρή], meaning “Bright”, is the largest religious feast in Greece, as it celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, a symbol of rebirth and hope. It is a movable feast, and is celebrated each year sometime between April 4 and May 8, a period in which nature, like Christ, also revives.
In this lesson, we will look at the main customs of Easter Sunday.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Why does the Orthodox Church usually celebrate Easter on a different date than the Catholics?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Easter Sunday for Greeks means red eggs [κόκκινα αυγά], lamb [αρνί] and merrymaking [γλέντι]. People move en masse to various towns and villages to celebrate this day with their relatives. Greeks start setting up the spits used to roast the traditional spit-roasted lamb called [οβελίας] and the [κοκορέτσι], which is lamb offal and intestines, from early on in the morning. This typically takes place under the supervision of men. Roasting the meat on the spit takes a long time, so everyone uses this time as an opportunity for drinking and merrymaking, usually involving traditional music and lots of dancing. When the food is ready, everyone gathers around the table and enjoys the festive meal.
On Easter, it is tradition for Greeks to crack the dyed red eggs as follows: first, one person holds their egg with the pointy side facing up, while the other person holds their egg higher, pointy side down. With a sharp movement, the second person hits their egg against the egg of the first person. During this custom, one person says [Χριστός Ανέστη], meaning “Christ is Risen,” while the other person replies [Αληθώς Ανέστη], which means “Truly, He is Risen.” The egg that breaks is then turned upside down, and the participants repeat the action in opposite roles. Whichever egg does not crack at all is considered lucky and can be used again.
Every year, the famous custom ["σαιτοπόλεμος"] or “dart war” is held in the city of Kalamata. The participants are called ["σαϊτολόγοι"] which means “dart-ologists”, and are separated into so-called ["μπουλούκια"] meaning “mobs.” The darts that they hold are paper tubes filled with gunpowder. Some people refer to this custom as the ["ζεϊμπέκικο”] of fire, or “folk dance of fire," because of the way ["σαϊτολόγοι"] hold their darts, and because of how they move. This custom is very appreciated by the locals, as it reminds them of the containment of the Ottoman cavalry with explosives, and the glorious fight of their ancestors during the period of Ottoman rule.
In Kythnos, a swing or [κούνια] is set up in the square of the capital of the island, upon which boys and girls sit dressed in traditional costumes. Whoever swings someone is committed in front of God and humans to marry that person!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Why does the Orthodox Church usually celebrate Easter on a different date than the Catholics?
The Catholics celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon of the vernal equinox, according to the modern Gregorian calendar. The Orthodox, however, celebrate according to the old Julian calendar, which is astronomically not precise.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever seen how the lamb gets spit-roasted on Easter Sunday in Greece?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

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Have you ever seen how the lamb gets spit-roasted on Easter Sunday in Greece?