If you decide to visit Nafplio for the Easter and you wish to spend your time as the locals will do with their traditions, then this article will be your guide.
So, in Nafplio there are a lot of different churches some very old, connected directly with the Greek history and some of them newer built. Below you will find a full list with some of the most popular churches in Nafplio.
Church of Panagia – Directions HERE
Saint Nicholas Church– Directions HERE
Saint George Church– Directions HERE
Evangelista Church– Directions HERE
Moni Karakala– Directions HERE
Agia Moni Panagias Monastery– Directions HERE
For the Greeks, Easter is the biggest religious holiday of the year as it is connected with Orthodox faith and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The preparation for the Easter starts the “Kathara Deutera” – “Clean Monday”, the first day that Greeks start the lent that lasts for forty days until the Easter. According to the Christian Orthodox Religion, the lent is the period that people clean their body and their soul. They stay away from all the food that comes from animals with blood in its veins, including meat, milk, cheese. In addition, they clean their soul by visiting the Church more often, that helps them remove all the “bad” thoughts from their mind and replace them with thoughts of love and compassion. A charity, a little help to someone who really needs and good actions will also help someone clean his/her soul and bring him/her closer to the God.
The Holy Week, “Megali Evdomada” is the week starts from the Plam Sunday until the Easter Sunday. During this week there will be every evening church services, each of the day dedicated to the last week that of the life of Jesus Christ on the planet earth.
On Thursday there is a tradition for all the Greeks to cook the cake called in Greek “Tsoureki”, cook also biscuits that are related to the Greek Easter and also paint cooked eggs in red color.
On Thursday night the church will last for at least 3 hours as it is the liturgy for the death of Jesus Chris on planet earth. After the liturgy some of the locals will go to the church and create the epitaph with flowers. So, on Thursday night some locals go from church to church in order to embrace the epitaphs. On Friday is the most important day for the Greek Orthodoxy and is a day that all the country is in sableness. All across the country you will hear all day long the church bells until nine o’clock in the evening that is the time that according to the religion is the official hour of Christ’s death. At this time all across the country follows a symbolic funeral of Christ were the epitaph will go around the streets and people will follow carrying candles and the experience overall is quite solemn.
Good Friday is one of the busiest days of the holy week as it is not a working day for most the Greeks and all of them will spend their day for getting prepared for household shopping, going to the church. On Friday according to the religion is a strict day for the lent and people should not eat even olive oil.
Saturday is the last day of the lent. During noon there will be liturgy and all day long you can see people at the streets getting prepared for the night. On Saturday night people will go to the church again for the resurrection. The liturgy starts at 10pm and will finish until 2am. Just before midnight all the lights will be switched off, the priest and the people will go outside from most of the churches carrying candles or the traditional candles called “lampada”. Everyone carries candles with them to be lit by the priest’s candle which represents the “holy frame”. The tradition is that representatives from the Greek orthodox church have transported to Greece a candle lit by the eternal burning flame at the Church of the holy Grave in Jerusalem, and the flame is spread from candle to candle all across the country. At 12am exactly the priest will announce the “Christos Anesti” or Christ has risen, meaning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At most of the places in Greece at this time the night will become full of lights from the fireworks and you will see all the people start cheering, greeting and kissing each other. Most of the people at this point will go home to eat with the whole family together, even the liturgy will continue until 2am. When people will go home they carry the flame at home for the blessing of the family. For Saturday night the most common food that you will see at the dinner table is the “Magiritsa”, a traditional meat soup.
On Sunday is the Easter and people spend most of the day at their homes with their families or at friendly homes. The table for today will have roasted lamp being cooked in very traditional Greek way and also the Greek tsoureki and the home-made cookies that people cooked on Thursday.
In addition, people will play the game with the eggs “tsougkrisma” where they will break each other’s red eggs by hitting them against each other. All people wish each other “Kalo Pasxa”!
Find the full guide for Nafplio city – HERE.
If you are interested about the Archeological sites in and close to Nafplio, find your full guide – HERE.