The Resurrection Table
KALO PASCHA CHRONIA POLLA… GREEK EASTER
Fasting is over. Last Thursday, the Orthodox Maundy Thursday, the preparation for the Easter celebration begun when the women started baking their TSOUREKI, the braided sweet bread, with a dyed red egg in the middle.
Kokkina avga (red eggs) are made by adding dye to the boiling water and vinegar . As soon they are cool, eggs are polished with olive oil to bring out the shine. Red signifies the blood of Christ.
Lamb and goats are slaughtered and on Good Friday was the total fasting. Friday was the procession, re en acting the burial of Christ.
The next day, Greeks go to church at 11pm. For the final part of the long service, people crowd the church holding white candles, which they light from the priest’s candle or from someone close to them and greet each other with Chistos Anesti (Christ has risen) and replies with Alithos Anesti (Truly he has risen)
They all rush home to break the fasting with the traditional Easter soup MAGERITSA. Its made from the heart, intestines and lungs from the paschal lamb.
The real celebration begins on Easter Sunday. People mostly roast their own lamb on the pit, those who don’t, bring tapsi (large round tins ) to the local bakery to have their lamb cooked STO FOURNO (slow oven cooking). Potatoes with lemon juice and oregano or thyme are placed around the meat.
When the meat arrives on the table glasses clink and toast begins kali orexi.
Plates of tzatziki (yoghurt and garlic dip), lakerda ( pickled chunks of bonito), kokkina avga and the lahanosalata (cos lettuce salad) fill the table as well.
In between the merry drinking of krasi apo bareli (wines from cask) comes the TSOUGRISMA. Red eggs are tap against an opponent, the crack ones are eaten by the loser and the victorious egg plays on.
(This I can never forget when we had too much cracked eggs. Once at my friend Stephanie’s country house, we took all the cracked eggs and played a silly game who could throw them the farthest)
Tomorrow we will join the Greeks here in Oslo for a public feast 100Kr a person.. While writing I swear I could smell of the roast lamb.
Hopefully with photos of the Greeks roasting the lamb. My photo files are in Athens.