The Christian Easter is the most important celebration of the Christian ecclesiastical year. The Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on the first Sunday after the July Full Moon that follows the spring equinox according to the Julian Calendar. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated.
As in the whole of Greece, as in Crete, the customs of the Holy Week are many, such as egg painting, etc.
THE BIG LENT AND THE FAST
Forty-eight (48) days are fasting before Easter, as many days as, the Christ was in the wilderness. In the early Christian times, the Lent was devoted to the preparation of the Catechism, who were baptized on Easter Day. On Sunday, before Easter, the fish are allowed to be consumed, and the churches, give to people laurel leaves.
The main food made by the housewives of Crete for the Easter Lent is the wild greens, the chops, the pies with greens, etc. Fasting and customs are not only ideological and religious symbolism but also test and health for longevity. Proper fasting fights the thickness and cleanses the body from toxins, lipids, triglycerides, and others.
EASTER CAROLS, THE EPITAPH, THE BURNING OF JUDE
All Holy Week, people do not listen to or sing songs. The boys and the big men cut wood all the Holy Week, and the Great Saturday make the place where the Judas dummy will burn. On Thursday, they make a human dummy of wood and straw, the “Judah”, which they surround in all the village houses, and they strike for its terrible betrayal. Women give what old clothes they have to clothe “the jelly Judah.” Easter Lambs are slaughtered on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Unmarried girls gather lilies, roses, lemon blossoms, and other flowers from the gardens to decorate the Epitaph on Thursday. The people are watching the sacred sequences throughout the Holy Week.
On the Good Saturday, the dummy of Judah is placed in the specially designed space. On the night of the Resurrection, with Christ Rising, the boys set fire on Judas, who burns with the necessary fireworks and even enemies on that day give the kiss of Love in the courtyard of the church.
The Carols are said on the morning of Lazarus Saturday and refer to the Resurrection of Lazarus. Also on the morning of Good Friday is also called the funeral song that refers to the crucifixion of Christ. Two girls or a boy and a girl hold a wreath that has been knit with the most beautiful flowers of the time, and this is then being deposited with great respect either to the patron or to the tomb.
THE CANDLE OF THE RESURRECTION, THE KALITSOUNIA , THE EASTER BREAD
Since the morning of Holy Thursday women are engaged in kneading. They knead Kalitsounia and the Easter bread. In the center of the bread, they put three red eggs In honor of the Holy Trinity. In general, Easter’s meals and pastries dominate the milk, egg, and cheese, while Christmas, the oil, the honey, etc.
Easter the godfather and the godmother go to their baptisms, and they give them the red eggs and the candle of the Resurrection (a white candle).
THE MALAKA CHEESE, THE MYZHITHRA, THE ANTHOTYR, THE CHLORO, AND THE KATSOCHIIRI
“Chloro” is fresh cheese, which up to the middle is a butcher and the middle and upper mizithra. The katsochiiri is the small cheese. The cheese and the meat have been given by shepherds to friends, relatives, and people who do not have animals and for the needs of Easter.
Malakas is called in Crete the fresh (soft) kefalotyri, the first milk product, and myzithra the second product. When the malaka is dried it is called kefalotyri and when the myzithra is dried it is called anthotyro.
THE COLORING OF EGGS
On the morning of Holy Thursday, women paint the eggs, which formerly happened in the colors of flowers, especially red poppy.
Indeed, on the eggs, before they painted, small flowers were caught and so their designs were scattered on top. The red eggs are either in memory of the spilled blood of Christ by the Roman soldier’s lance or because this color is an expression of joy because of the coming spring and of the Resurrection of the Lord.
THE SIGNAL AND SMALL FIRE
The old commissioner of each church two hours before the Resurrection received a marker and tapped it from a neighborhood to a neighborhood to wake-invite the faithful to the Divine service. Leaving the Cretan faithful from home, to go to the church and listen to the “Christ Risen”, a small fire burns in the courtyard for the burning of Judas of the house, over which all, small adults, are passing by while doing their cross and a wish.
THE SILENT LIGHT
During the evening of Good Saturday, when the priest says “get some light”, many with a candle or lantern bring the holy light to their house silent (as soon as they get the light and until they go home they say no word ), believing that something like that would be good in their home or that the demons would be leaving.
One of the special characteristics of Chania during the Great Friday is the outdoor operation of the settlement in Voulgaros village and the traditional bazaars in Voukolies, Kissamos, and Vrysses. Indeed, the Voukolies bazaar keeps its roots since the Ottoman domination.