my big fat greek easter

23 Apr

i can’t wait for tomorrow because i love greek easter! easter is a big deal to greek people, especially in astoria where my grandparents live. ever since i could remember, we would go there on the saturday night before easter for midnight mass. and let me tell you, midnight mass starts at 6 o’clock. so you’re sitting in a church packed with (usually all old) greek people. and it doesn’t end til midnight. fml. for 6 hours you sit there and listen to old priests chant in gibberish that supposed to be greek while clanking these bells that have smoke coming out of them. if you suck at life, you have to STAND for six hours and listen to that. my grandma and me would usually be the only ones who went to this (cus i got guilted into it) while the rest of my family stays and watches tv at my grandparents house til 11:45. that’s because at 11:45 they walk over to the street in front of the church and the whole street is FULL of greek people. the police are there and the streets  are blocked off. there is a parade float in front of the church (red) with a priest standing on it…chanting of course. at exactly midnight, or when jesus was resurrected, the priest cries “CHRISTOS ANESTI” (christ has risen!) and everyone yells back “ALITHOS ANESTI” (indeed he has risen!) then, fireworks and cherry bombs are set off (yes, greeks go all-out for easter)

the priest has a candle and shares his flame with someone around the float. then slowly the flames are passed to one another because we’re all holding candles (your godparents are supposed to buy you this candle when you’re young– like the one char makes fun of in my room) until everyone in the crowd is lit. sometimes this is dangerous because it’s so crowded and one year i almost burned some guys jacket and he flipped out at me. i was only 11 so i was pretty traumatized. also there’s a huge underpass by the church and sometimes fireworks are set off under it…it’s the scariest thing ever and i always thought we would get burned when i was younger. after all this, we walk back to my grandparents house with the flame-lit candles and when you walk in, you burn a cross at the top of your first doorway of the house for a good year and then we eat a HUGE meal full of lamb and meat (because if you do lent, you can’t eat meat, dairy, or anything that bleeds). i don’t do lent lol so this doesn’t break my fast, but it’s still AMAZING. also, greek easter eggs are only died red. no fancy schmancy decorated ones for us. it’s a tradition where everyone “versus” eachother with the eggs. you have to try and crack other people’s eggs. if your egg doesn’t crack, you win and you’ll have good luck for a year. we usually get home by 3 or 4 in the morning, and then the next day is the big family party.

i love easter sunday. ever seen the movie my big fat greek wedding? remember the scene where the two families meet and the whole family showed up for party at the greek house? i’m convinced they based that off typical greek easter. as soon as we go to one of my family members houses, we walk in and there’s loud, obnoxious greek music playing. i honestly love that music because i grew up with it and learned all the dances to it (the ones where you go in a circle!) and it reminds me of greece. we walk onto the patio and there’s a huge, whole lamb on a roast as well as a whole pig. creepy. the lamb looks like this:

appetizing right? the faces are definitely the worst part. but i still eat them cus they’re delicious right off the spit when they are ready as well as the rest of the food. it’s like thanksgiving, but better. i’m convinced i could become a vegetarian, except i couldn’t give up eating lamb on easter. also, my grandma would probably kill me, seriously. she doesn’t understand the concept of vegetarians, diets, or being full. i feel so guilty whenever i leave any of her food on my plate (even though it’s probably like my fourth plate). in addition, everyone is soo rowdy because everyone is drinking, talking and having fun. definitely one of the best parts of being greek.

happy easter everyone!

Mary

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