Do only lichnarakia, anevata (i.e. traditional sweets with mizithra), Easter eggs and roasted lamb or antikristo (i.e. lamb cooked opposite the fire) define Easter in Crete? Definitely not but the smells coming out of the kitchens during the Holly Week are unforgettable.
Many things have changed from the past customs. Many of them have died out and many of them are the same or similar with those of the rest of the areas of Greece.
There are a lot Eastern customs of Crete that are forgotten. Sometimes they are identified with the customs of the rest of Greece. Easter in Crete was identified with the bread production and the cure of illnesses while the role of the believers varied according to their gender or their family status. So let’s find about them.
During the Holly Week a number of believers go to the church.
Then any kind of entertainment and heavy work (apart from those concerned the Easter Sunday) was forbidden. Apart from the preparations of the Easter dinner, whitewashing should have been performed by the housewives. Whitewashing symbolized the soul catharsis.
The leaven of the year was made in Good Wednesday. Women took the yeast to the church in order to be blessed by the priest. It was renewed in every kneading and maintained during the whole year.
The eggs are dyed during Good Thursday and, in the night, the believers went to the church with a black cordon. Every time the priest read a gospel, they knitted a knot. Then the knotted rope that was created was put in the iconostasis.
Crist was crucified up high in Golgotha
And they laughed at our God.
They put a crown made with thorns on his head
in order to make him king, we cannot believe it.
Instead of water he was given vinegar with a sponge
in order to quench his great thirst.
He gave his spirit to his Father
and died in the pointless wind.
A great earthquake happened and graves were opened
and died people resurrected.
Virgin Mary cried and was in pain
And was hitting her breasts as she was looking at Him dying.
Our sins crucified our Christ
and we should think what we have to do.
And now we are waiting His Resurrection
in order to glorify our God.
We are all going to say that Christ resurrected
and his great glory will be heard in all over the world.
We wish the house we came to be safe
and its householder to live long.