Greek Orthodox Easter

If you intend to visit Alonissos in April you will need to know when Easter falls.  Greek Orthodox Easter and Catholic/Protestant Easter do not often fall at the same time due to the different methods used in calculating the date of Easter Sunday.  The Greek Orthodox Church uses a revised Julian calendar and the astronomical full moon as seen along the meridian of Jerusalem as the basis for their calculation, whereas the other churches use the Gregorian calendar and the official full moon.  The dates of Greek Orthodox and Catholic/Protestant Easter Sunday for the next 10 years are available on our Easter Dates page and where the dates coincide are highlighted in the table.

Easter in Greece lasts 100 days with the 50 days before Easter known as the period of Triodion and the 50 days following Easter known as the Pentecostarion.  During Holy Week prior to Easter Sunday the traditional foods are prepared and evening services follow the Passion of Christ.  After vespers on Easter Friday the Epitaphios (Bier) is carried through the streets.  The Resurrection mass (Anastasis) takes place on Saturday evening and at midnight the ceremony of lighting of candles takes place which is the most significant moment of the year.  The 40 day Lenten fast ends on Easter Sunday with the cracking of red-dyed eggs and an outdoor feast of roast lamb or goat.

Notes about Greek Orthodox Easter on Alonissos

  1. If you are eating out or having meze with ouzo during Lent you can expect to have a lot of fish and seafood available in the tavernas and bars.

  2. There are generally no ferry services between the mainland ports and Alonissos on Easter Sunday and services are different to the days before Easter Friday and after Easter Monday.

  3. The week culminating in Easter Sunday is known in Greece as Μεγάλη  Εβδομάδα which roughly translates to Big Week.

  4. If you want to make red dyed eggs for Easter then you can buy the dye in the supermarkets in the run-up to Easter.  Alternatively you can buy them in the top Veg shop.

  5. On Easter Friday the bank and post office are closed.  Most of the shops and supermarkets are closed up until around midday as there is a morning service in the church.

  6. Brown candles for the Friday service and white candles for the Saturday service can be bought in the top supermarket in Patitiri near the school and opposite the Women's Cooperative.

  7. All the shops in Patitiri are closed until midday on Easter Friday because of the morning service in the church of Agia Paraskevi.

  8. The Easter Friday candle-lit procession through the harbour has no fixed time leaving the church as it depends on how early or late Easter falls, whether the clocks have changed, etc.  The service starts in the church from 7pm.

  9. If you want to eat in Patitiri after the Friday procession has returned to the church then, to avoid disappointment, make sure you have a table booked in advance or that you know the taverna owner very well because otherwise you will regret not eating earlier.

  10. All the bars in Patitiri close early on Easter Saturday because of the service in the church, so don't expect to get a drink after 11pm.

  11. The Saturday night Resurrection service includes the candle lighting ceremony around midnight from the holy flame that has come from Jerusalem.  Light your white candle then get the flame home without going out and make a smoke cross above the door for good luck.

  12. Dave and Gerry's Tip:  If the weather is bad on Easter Saturday night and there is a chance your flame will extinguish then take an enclosed night light holder and light this so you can re-light your candle when you get home.

  13. Shops and tavernas are closed on Easter Sunday but Tasia's taverna at Steni Vala is open and serves starters, salads and lamb or goat.

  14. Easter Monday is a public holiday so all the shops are closed.