Easter in Greece

In less than a month it is Easter! This year the Christian Catholic and Greek Christian Orthodox Easter coincide. This happens only once in the four years. Most of you know the reason why I started Chove. Because I want to share with you the experience of the amazing Greek delicacies, glyka with you. However, this is not the only thing I want to share with you. What I also want to share with you is some of the unique customs and traditions you can find in Greece. One of them, is Greek Easter! An amazing festivity. As mentioned in a former blog, customs, traditions and being Greek have become one throughout the years. In general the majority of the Greek population celebrates those moments either they believe in God or not.

 

One of the greatest celebrations in the Christian Orthodox calendar is Easter. How we arrive to the Easter celebrations? We start back in the winter. Below you will find some explanations in short.

 

Carnival – Apokries

A festivity during which now we disguise ourselves in the most crazy costumes. Actually in Greece, those are the last days to eat meat. Because carnival in Greek is called apokries which comes from the words ‘apo’ meaning from and ‘kreas’ meat. Taking distance from the meat.

Aside to this part there is also a logic to why this happened during this time of year. In the early years, folks would slaughter animals for the winter and as the winter came to an end the last pieces of meat would be eaten. Then a period of downtime would come as the little ones needed to be born first until the circle could start again.

 

40 Days before Easter – Clean Monday (Kathari Theftera)

Around 7 weeks before Easter the fasting period starts. This happens on the first Monday after carnival.

This Monday is called Clean Monday, in Greek ‘Kathari Theftera’. Then it is a day off in Greece. Everyone meets up with friends and family, having lunch and dinner but without meat and milk products. Those 40 days resemble the 40 days that Jesus walked through the dessert. Fasting is seen as the period to clean ones soul. Aside to this on Clean Monday, the sky looks amazing! It is full of colours. Colours of the flying kites. It is said that kites go back to the 4th century that according historians was developed by Pithagoras. Next to this it is seen as an object with which you can come closer up to God. Of course delicacies are not missed from the table, but those ones are without diary products, one of them is the treat chalvas. This is a desert especially for the fasting period.

 

Big Week

40 days have passed and the Big Week, Megali Evdomada in Greek, starts. If you wish you can go every day at the church where you can listen to the psalms. Every day in this week gets the name ‘Big’ in front of it. So, you have Big Monday, Big Tuesday, et cetera.

 

Big Thursday

This is the day that the eggs are dyed red and the brioches (tsoureki) are put in the oven. Which symbolizes the rebirth of life and nature.

 

Big Friday

This is the day that Jesus, Christ, is said to be buried. The ceremony is called the Epitaph during which it is said to be the deposition of the body of Jesus to his burial, the Epitaph. This is actually the burial ceremony of Jesus. The Epitaph is being decorated with flowers. During the evening the procession takes place with chanters throughout the streets of the cities and villages. The final destination is the graveyard where Jesus is buried.

 

Big Saturday

3 days after his death, Jesus is said to resurrect. To celebrate this moment, people gather before midnight in church holding white candles. Children receive candles in various colours with a present on them by their godmother or – father. Usually accompanied by a chocolate egg or bunny. At exactly midnight the priest declares that Jesus has resurrected. This is accompanied by a lot of fireworks. He proclaims it by ‘Christos Anesti’, (Christ has risen) and shares the Holy light that is said to come from his grave. The archbishop namely goes that day to Jerusalem to get the light out of the graveyard. You can see this on the news on TV where they show that the Holy Light is transferred from place to place to finally arrive at all the churches of Greece. When the Holy light is given to one another at midnight people wish each other the following. ‘Chirstos Anesti’ (Christ has risen) and get the answer ‘Alithos Anesti’ (He has truly risen). After this moment, Judas, the betrayer is burned. A human size doll is being burned with fireworks on the background.

The same night magiritsa is being eaten (a tripe and herb soup) and red eggs are cracked. Most people take the Holy light with them home. Because upon arrival they will put a cross with the flames of the candle on the front door of the house. This is done to keep the bad away from the house.

 

Easter Sunday & Monday

On both first and second day of Easter, families and friends gather to have lunch together and celebrate this day. It is the end of fasting. Traditional food is served. This is lamb on the spit which has been prepared throughout the whole morning until noon accompanied with potatoes and Greek salad on the side. The atmosphere is festive, full of joy, dances and excitement and yes some broken plates too on the floor ;)

 

The Easter period is to me very special. It is a very colourful period. A lot happens in such a short time. Whenever I am in Greece I realize that this is a very special and unique celebration which I am glad to share with you. It is really worth it to once have this experience as it so different than others either you believe or not in God. This year I will be there again!

 

 

Be with the ones you love during amazing days like those above.

 

 

Enjoy every moment!

open & share

  

Laura Kokkiadi

Owner & Founder 

CHOVE 

2 Comments

Flower of Life & CHOVE – Chocolate Love

Did you see it well?! Look twice. And again.

Yes! Our logo embodies the Flower of Live. Why?

Because I just like it. Noooo! There’s more to it.

On the picture you see the ring I got as a present from my godmother, ‘nona’ in Greek before I had even designed the logo for Chove. The funny thing is though that I did not think of the ring when I was creating my logo.

 

Circles, circles, circles

I wanted to make something with circles. As according to studies, circles give a positive feeling. So that I can give a positive feeling to my customers by tasting chocolate and by looking at a circle ;) Double gain. Finally, it is all about the experience!

 

I thought back to my drawing classes at senior high school, which I loved! At one of the lessons we had to draw with a compass (device for drawing circles) and I really enjoyed it a lot. As such, I started drawing out circles for the logo of Chove. Tested it around my family and friends and came out at the almost current logo. Why almost?

Because if you look well.. the flower is not centered in the middle of the logo. This because when I was looking at the logo, my eyes fell all the time on the flower and not the logo in its entirety.

 

What about the Flower of Life?

To be honest, I did not know about it. Ups! Until I stood at the markets and many people told me about it. I did some research and was surprised and amazed. If you still do not know anything about it, it is really interesting to know that it is said that the whole world, cosmos, is based on those circles! Sacred geometry in its whole. And that makes it really amazing! From Egypt, to the Middle East to India. The Flower of Life has a very basic meaning. In science, in biology, in the three dimensional Metatron cube and even Leonardo da Vinci studied its mathematical properties. To learn in detail more about the Flower of Life, check this link.

 

In a way I am proud to have chosen this logo. Of course because I love circles and want to give a positive feeling to my customers. But now even more that I know the meaning of it.

 

We at Chove want you to enjoy each and every moment with the people you care and it is our pleasure that we can contribute in a positive way with our Greek delicacies, chocolates.

 

 

Enjoy every moment!

open & share

  

Laura Kokkiadi

Owner & Founder 

CHOVE 

1 Comments

X-MAS is all about family

Christmas is almost here! Time to be together with our loved and dear ones. Those holy days are wonderful because you make time to be with everyone you love. You share moments of joy and happiness. I want to share with you some of those moments in Greece.

 

Before the holy days arrive the melomakarona and kourabiedes cookies are made. The melomakarona have honey in them making them deliciously sweet and the kourabiedes have powder sugar around them. Those special cookies are only eaten during this period until the 1st of January. I miss them enormously! For the ones who want to get the recipes, you can find them here: melomakarona and kourabiedes

 

Aside to this, still some decades ago, Greeks would not decorate a Christmas tree at home, but a boat with lights. Greece is a nautical country, so a boat is a very important part of the Greeks life and it signifies a good trip through life.

Here below you see the boat at my parents place. However, I got this one from The Netherlands since I live here and could not buy one in Greece ;)

 

Christmas carols

The day before Christmas, 24 of December, you will see everywhere children singing carols. They will go to the neighbors or various shops in the city. They receive some money for it. A day to become rich you could say ;)

 

Jesus' birthday  & name day

The 25th and 26th the birthday of Jesus is celebrated as is done over here too. As I told you in my former blog, name days are very important in Greece. On the 25th everybody who is called Christos (male name), Christina (female name) celebrate their name because of the birthday of Jesus, Christ. It is very interesting to know that Christ is written like this in Greek, Χριστός, but the guys who celebrate his name is written differently and have another accent, Χρήστος. This because nobody should carry the name of Jesus.

 

Greek Santa Clause - Agios Vasilis 

The 31st of December, you will see again children go down the streets to sign the New Year’s carols.

As for Santa Clause, he does not come the 25th of December but on the 1st of January. The Santa Clause of Greece is called Saint Vasilis (Agios Vasilis). He set up a lot of hospitals, schools and did his best for others. His “Name Day” is celebrated on the 1st of January. This is also the day that the children get their presents. In a way his act of giving is celebrated on this day.

 

Vasilopita - cake of luck

Greek people really love to share and enjoy moments together. Another tradition is the special cake, vasilopita. When you translate it, it has the name of Vasilis from the Saint Vasilis and pita, cake. This cake is only eaten on the 1st of January. The recipe is different than all the other cakes and the most unique part of it, it has a coin in it! There is a special way the vasilopita is cut.

You cut it crossways, one vertical and one horizontal line, symbolizing the Church/believe, then the first piece goes to Jesus/God, the second to the house and then everyone gets the piece depending on their age from the older to the youngest one. Finally, the person that will have the coin in his/her piece is regarded to be lucky the whole year J

I am planning to make a vasilopita for my friends this year. See who is gonna be lucky ;)

For the recipe check the following links or search on Greek vasilopita and you will find loads of recipes:

www.food.com

www.mygreekdish.com

 

A tradition that I love! Because sharing such special moments with your loved and dear ones are the ones that are most important to me. Keeping them close to my heart <3

 

I wish you amazing days, full of joy, laughter, love and happiness.

 

Enjoy every moment!

 

open & share

 

Laura Katerina Kokkiadi

Owner & Founder 

CHOVE

 

2 Comments

Name Day - It is all in the name

 

Ever heard of a “Name Day”?

Today, 25 November, is my “Name Day”. Katerina. My second name which I got from my Greek grandmother. In Greece everyone celebrates his/her “Name Day” of the saint (Agios in Greek) that bears the same name. Around 88% of the Greek population is Christian Orthodox or Christian. This happens because customs, traditions and religion are so much intertwined with each other, that they have become one. The way Greeks live and celebrate.

 

 

The day is usually celebrated that a saint died for Jesus, by sacrificing him/herself or did something special. People who bear the name of the saint are said to have their “Name Day”.  A very important day! Most people know that it is the day of that saint. As a result, when it is your “Name Day” everybody will congratulate you with ‘Χρόνια πολλά!’ (Many years!). You receive gifts from friends and family. It is really your party!

 

The person that has his/her “Name Day” will treat everyone either at school or work with delicacies, glyka. The same treats which you can find at Chove.

In case at work or at school you have several people who carry the same name, expect to receive from everyone glyka. Maybe an extra gym session calling after so many treats ;) Or better! In Greece it is a custom, that the eldest son/daughter will get the name of the grandfather/mother. Which means, that if someone had three children, and they all produce a male grandchild, all three of those cousins will have the same name. So, expect 3 glyka, plus if the grandfather is still alive, 4 glyka ;) A custom going from generation to generation denoting the history of the family which can go hundreds of years back in time.

 

Cities and villages have main churches/chapels which carry the name of a saint. When it is the “Name Day” of the saint of the specific main church/chapel, there is either a day off or there is a big party in the village where everyone is invited. Friends, family and strangers. Amazing to join! Everybody celebrates!

 

Some facts:

-          Among older generations, you “Name Day” is more important than your birthday which passes without as much notice. Though is changing in the younger generations.

-          There are places where some names are more common because of a saint’s  importance for that place/city/village

-          A “Name Day” of a male saint can also be accounted for women that carry the name in the female version or vice versa

-          There exists a calendar of “Name Days” so that you know exactly when which saint is celebrated and whom of your friends to congratulate: Check it here Only Christian Orthodox names are celebrated

-          The Santa Clause of Greece is actually Saint Vasilis (Agios Vasilis). He set up a lot of hospitals, schools and did his best for others. His “Name Day” is celebrated on the 1st of January. This is also the day that the children get their presents. In a way his act of giving is celebrated on this day

-          There are “Name Days” that move day. For instance the name of George (Giorgos) which is normally on the 23rd of April when it coincides with Easter Day, then it will be celebrated the second day of Easter, on the 24th of April

-          “Name Day” changes when you get married. The name Maria. One of the most used names in Greece. The mother of Jesus, Maria, is being celebrated everywhere. The 21st of November is celebrated by the unmarried Marias. As soon as they marry, they celebrate their “Name Day” on the 15th of August, the day that the mother of Jesus died. Also one of the biggest celebrations throughout the year. It is holiday in Greece then. All the villages and islands have amazing processions and celebrations on this day and night. Really a magical part of Greece

 

Even you might not have a “Name Day”, we at Chove want you to celebrate every moment with glyka. Either it is your birthday, wedding anniversary, graduation, a present you want to give, a thank you to someone, a sorry, or any other reason you might find. Just because you are worth it. We encourage you to celebrate the moment you have now!

 

Enjoy every moment!

 

open & share

 

Laura Katerina Kokkiadi

Owner & Founder 

CHOVE

 

Read More 0 Comments