Greek Easter in Crete is celebrated with many local customs and traditions.
Easter ('Paska') is the most important holiday in Greece, and in the Greek Orthodox

Greek Orthodox Easter usually falls one to five weeks after the western (Protestant,
Catholic) Easter, while approximately once every four years it falls on the same date.

In 2016 Greek Orthodox Easter falls on Sunday 1st May 2016  five weeks after
western Easter which falls on 27th March 2016.

Clean Monday APOKRIES (Kathara Deftera) is a bank holiday and marks the start of
Lent and 49 days of fasting, although nowadays few people strictly fast for the whole
of Lent. Easter fasting excludes meat, fish (but not seafood), eggs, oil and dairy
products from the diet.

Holy Week (Megali Evdomada) starts Monday 25 April 2016
The week leading up to Easter is known as Holy Week (Megali Evdomada) and this is
when most people take their fasting seriously.
Church services are held throughout Holy Week.
Many tavernas close during this week, and the ones that stay open have mostly
seafood and vegetable dishes on their menu.
The women dye eggs red (symbolising the blood of Christ) and bake Easter biscuits
'koulourakia'  and kalitsounia (cheese pies), to be eaten after Easter Saturday when
the fast ends.

Good Friday (Megali Paraskevi)  29 April 2016
Good Friday is a day of mourning and churches usually ring out the death toll
throughout the morning - a steady toll of one ring of the bell.  The evening church
service starts at 7pm and after the service, at around 8.30pm, there is a subdued
procession through the streets carrying the epitaph, or coffin, with the congregation
following behind, usually all dressed in black.

Town shops are normally open 11am-3pm and supermarkets 8am-5pm on
Good Friday, and many tavernas remain closed today.

Easter Saturday (Megalo Sabbato) 30 April 2016
In Crete village children spend the day preparing a bonfire and an effigy of Judas
outside the church to burn after the midnight service.
The Anastasi, the Resurrection, takes place at midnight and is the culmination of Holy
Week. Churches across Greece are packed from 11pm onwards for the service and the
lighting of the Holy Flame at midnight.
Many tavernas are open after the midnight service. The 40-day fast ends at midnight
today so meat is back on the menu and it's becoming very popular to celebrate the
Anastasi and the start of Easter at a taverna or 'kentro' with live music.

Town shops close at around 3pm and supermarkets around 5pm today.

Easter Sunday (Kyriaki tou Paska) 1st May 2016
Easter Sunday tradition is the roasting of lamb outside on a spit; family and friends
usually get together for a big party with plenty of food, wine, music, and dancing.

If friends or neighbours are hosting an Easter party outside you'll likely be hailed for a
Copyright 2004-2015  Carol Palioudaki.  Easter in Crete & Greece.  Living in Crete
Living in Crete
Easter In Crete
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Greek Easter
Easter in Crete
Church of the Panayia Akrotiri
Index  > Greek Life > Easter in Crete
Related pages

Carnival/Apokries & Clean Monday         Bank Holiday Dates 2016           
Greek Easter Food

Mayeiritsa Easter Soup
This Easter soup is normally served on
'Megalo Sabbato' eve, after the
midnight church service. It's made with
boiled lamb offal - liver, heart and
intestines, flavoured with onions, dill,
thyme and lemon.

Sweet Easter biscuits

A braided sweet bread.

Kalitsounia (Crete)
Cheese pies: soft cheese, wrapped in
filo pastry and baked in the oven.

Red Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are dyed red to
symbolize the blood of Christ
celebratory drink and 'meze' with them if you happen to pass by their house - the
more the merrier!  If you are formally invited beforehand it is not expected that you
take anything with you, but taking along 'glyka' -  cakes or biscuits - will always be

Shops and supermarkets are closed today.
Museums and archaeological sites closed.
Tavernas are usually open.

Easter Monday -
Bank Holiday
Shops and supermarkets remain closed. Most museums closed, main sites
Knossos, Phaistos - open.
Tavernas open.


Full details of opening hours in Crete for Easter can be found here
Kali Anastasi!