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Easter customs & traditions of Cyprus
from the old days until the present...
Easter is a big feastivity of the
Orthodox Ch...
Preparations for Easter in our schools
The last day before the schools close, the children with the
escort of their school...
When they return to school they deal with Easter
creations.
They make Easter cards and write in their wishes.
Afterwards t...
Also, the children dye eggs in order to decorate the easter
baskets that they have made at school and at home.
It is also ...
The junior classes make egg holders with bugs
bunny drawings on them, which are decorated with
nicely and beautifully colo...
The older children make traditional easter cookies
in order to fill their easter baskets with them!
The schoolteachers replace all the signs with decorations of
pictures that refer to the sufferings of Jesus Christ during ...
The “song of Lazarus” has its honorary. A team of children
sing “the song of Lazarus” while another child dresses itself
a...
A little before they leave school, the children are given a
gift by the School’s Parents Association. The gift is
usually ...
Preparations for Easter in the villages
and in our cities
The housewives begin their house-cleaning from
the beginning of ...
The preparations for Easter begin from “Saturday of Lazarus”.
The schools are already closed by then. The small children g...
On The Olive-tree Sunday or
Sunday of Vaion as the last Sunday
before Easter is called, people take
small branches of oliv...
On Holy Wednesday in all the churches of
Cyprus we have the Ayios Efxeleos service,
where the priest deeps cotton in holy ...
From Holy Wednesday until Holy Saturday the
housewives bake cookies, afkotes (from eggs) and
flaounes.
Holy Thursday is said also as Kotsiinopefti, because red eggs are
dyed on this day. This custom has been transferred to Ho...
During Holy Thursday they used to gather diosmos
which they used to make tea all the year round. This tea
was considered t...
On the night of Holy Thursday, during the ceremony we watch
the Crucifixion of Christ and listen to the 12 Gospels. All ch...
On Holy Friday we have the decoration of the Epitaphios. Round mid-day, the
Epitaphios is almost ready and decorated with ...
In the morning of Holy Saturday, the Resurrection Ceremony takes place.
When the priest says out loud «Anasta o Theos», al...
On Holy Saturday, the preparations for the Resurrection ceremony begin
early. The young people in villages and in towns st...
Just before midnight, church bells will sound, calling joyfully upon
the people to gather at church for the ceremony of lo...
On Easter Sunday, the ceremony begins at 11 in the morning.
The Gospel is being read in various languages.
Furthermore on ...
Festivities in the village squares and in towns

In the afternoon, various festive activities are organized in the
village...
In people’s homes one can see swings where girls
would sit on the swings and sing traditional songs.
It is customary that these festivities continue for three
days. The coffee shops in all the villages are full of
people.
C...
Easter traditions in Cyprus
Easter traditions in Cyprus
Easter traditions in Cyprus
Easter traditions in Cyprus
Easter traditions in Cyprus
Easter traditions in Cyprus
Easter traditions in Cyprus
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Easter traditions in Cyprus

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Easter traditions in Cyprus

  1. 1. Easter customs & traditions of Cyprus from the old days until the present... Easter is a big feastivity of the Orthodox Church. The preparations for this big feast begin from Saturday of Lazarus. The schools have closed from the previous day for the Easter Holidays.
  2. 2. Preparations for Easter in our schools The last day before the schools close, the children with the escort of their schoolteachers go to church in order to attend the Divine Ceremony. Little before the end of the ceremony the children receive with devotion the Holy Communion.
  3. 3. When they return to school they deal with Easter creations. They make Easter cards and write in their wishes. Afterwards they exchange the cards between them.
  4. 4. Also, the children dye eggs in order to decorate the easter baskets that they have made at school and at home. It is also important that the easter eggs are decorated with beautiful drawings.
  5. 5. The junior classes make egg holders with bugs bunny drawings on them, which are decorated with nicely and beautifully coloured eggs.
  6. 6. The older children make traditional easter cookies in order to fill their easter baskets with them!
  7. 7. The schoolteachers replace all the signs with decorations of pictures that refer to the sufferings of Jesus Christ during the Holy Week. Also, with the help of their students they make beautiful Easter corner places in the school.
  8. 8. The “song of Lazarus” has its honorary. A team of children sing “the song of Lazarus” while another child dresses itself as Lazarus and wears the white clothes and a hoop with yellow daisies. The representation of Lazarus takes place in the presence of all the children and their schoolteachers.
  9. 9. A little before they leave school, the children are given a gift by the School’s Parents Association. The gift is usually an Easter chocolate egg with a small toy.
  10. 10. Preparations for Easter in the villages and in our cities The housewives begin their house-cleaning from the beginning of the Holy Week. They even paint their walls with asvestos in order to be clean and white. In the old days they used a brush made of a bush called xystarka. Also, during Easter, people would buy new clothes for themselves and their families.
  11. 11. The preparations for Easter begin from “Saturday of Lazarus”. The schools are already closed by then. The small children go from house to house and sing the “song of Lazarus”. A child wearing decorations of wild flowers (yellow daisies and lazaruses) would be Lazarus. As a reward they are given eggs. In the villages of Kerynia, the older children would go a couple of days before the Saturday of Lazarus to the beach to extract «paint», a species of moss that sprouts in the rocks that are covered by the sea. This type of moss produces a liquid that is used to dye eggs giving them a deep red colour. Afterwards, they would visit the houses in the village to sing the song of Lazarus. There they would give a little of the «paint» to the housewives so that they would dye their easter eggs. They were then compensated with eggs or money.
  12. 12. On The Olive-tree Sunday or Sunday of Vaion as the last Sunday before Easter is called, people take small branches of olive trees leaves and form small bundles and take them to church. There they remain for forty days up to the day of Resurrection. In these way these olive - tree leaves become blessed and are used for the so called «smoking» of houses- to keep away illnesses- a tradition that remains up to the present. Also, when the priest says the Gospel, all people in church make crosses with the olive leaves and pin them on to their clothes.
  13. 13. On Holy Wednesday in all the churches of Cyprus we have the Ayios Efxeleos service, where the priest deeps cotton in holy oil and makes a cross on all people’s forehead.
  14. 14. From Holy Wednesday until Holy Saturday the housewives bake cookies, afkotes (from eggs) and flaounes.
  15. 15. Holy Thursday is said also as Kotsiinopefti, because red eggs are dyed on this day. This custom has been transferred to Holy Saturday. In Cyprus tradition says that the red eggs were dyed with the blood of Christ that was dripping from his forehead when he was given thorn hoop to ware on his head. Of course the egg is a symbol of life and in the case of Resurrection symbolizes the new life, that is to say the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The egg breaking or cracking symbolizes the exit of life after the eggs are cracked. We dye the eggs red, because red is the colour of blood, that is of life. In the old days, dry onion leaves were used to dye red eggs, daisies for yellow and almond tree leaves for green eggs. Today, there are various ready paints for dyeing eggs.
  16. 16. During Holy Thursday they used to gather diosmos which they used to make tea all the year round. This tea was considered to be suitable for treating stomach aches. Another custom of Holy Thusday in several villages of Limassol district such as Pachna, Vouni, Kilani, PeraPedi, Mandria, and Trimiklini, is the baking of the traditional cookies known «arkatena».
  17. 17. On the night of Holy Thursday, during the ceremony we watch the Crucifixion of Christ and listen to the 12 Gospels. All churches have their icons covered with black pieces of cloth. Below and near the analogue, on which the Holy Bible is placed, people place their bottles full of water to be blessed and become Holy Water. This Holy Water is drunk to heal illnesses but also used in the preparation of the Easter bread. In the village of Xyliatios, 2 bottles are placed in baskets. The first bottle has water whilst the second has wine. These are then placed under the 12 Gospels. The wine is drunk by someone who is sick, but on an empty stomach, whilst the holy water is used to prepare the dough which is used to make «flaounes».
  18. 18. On Holy Friday we have the decoration of the Epitaphios. Round mid-day, the Epitaphios is almost ready and decorated with beautiful flowers. People living in villages close to mountainous or semi-mountainous areas, use a wild flower called Myrofores. This type of flower is considered vital for the decoration of the Epitaphios, mainly due to the ladies called Myrofores in the years that Christ lived but also due to its smell and aroma. One of the basic aromatic plants for the decoration of the Epitafios is myrsini or mercynia as the people call it. In addition, all the people used to send any kind of flowers that they had in their home gardens. At Holy Friday night, the churches are filled with people. The icons are being covered with black clothes and the melodies heard during the ceremony are full of saddness, indicating the sorrow for christ’s sufferings. It is also customary for the Epitaphios to be hand moved all over the village just before the ceremony is over. In some churches, the women stay up all night close to the Epitaphios. That is, they stay up all night beside the deceased Christ, as they used to do with all the dead persons at that time. Some of the flowers that were used to decorate the Epitaphios, are given by the priest to all the people in the church when they show their respect to Christ who has been crucified. These flowers are kept and used for the so called «smoking» of houses to keep away illnesses.
  19. 19. In the morning of Holy Saturday, the Resurrection Ceremony takes place. When the priest says out loud «Anasta o Theos», all the black clothes covering the icons fall to the floor and people strike hard on the church seats while at the same time the priest walks in the church throwing daphne leaves. All these symbolize the victory of life against death…
  20. 20. On Holy Saturday, the preparations for the Resurrection ceremony begin early. The young people in villages and in towns start gathering trees as well as all kinds of wood and pile them up in the church yards, in order to light-up the «Lambratzia». Over the years, this has become a very popular custom, because the people standing around the «Lambratzia» fire not only get their bodies warm but also their hearts. Friends and relatives get into the Easter spirit and exchange wishes and nice, warm words. They also throw into the «Lambratzia» fire a dummy representing Judas Iskariot, as well as the «Martis», a string-made bracelet which is worn on one hand since the 1st of March of each year, so as not to be burned by the sun, according to tradition.
  21. 21. Just before midnight, church bells will sound, calling joyfully upon the people to gather at church for the ceremony of love and rebirth. Everybody must be in church to hear the so-called «Good Word». At exactly 12 midnight, all the lights in churches are switched-off and the priest is seen rushing-out of the Holy Entrance holding a candle and singing «Defte Lavete Fos...». Everyone will light their candles from that of the priest, for his has been lit with the Holy Light or Fire. The ceremony is carried-on outside in the church yard where the priest reads the Gospel for the Resurrection of Christ saying «Christos Anesti...». Everyone repeats the phrase exchanging wishes at the same time, and thanking others by saying «Alithos Anesti o Kirios...», and «Chronia Pola...». When the Divine Ceremony is over, the people gather round the «Lambratzia» fire and all those having their name day ,offer fresh flaouna, zivania and wine to all the people present. Afterwards, everyone leaves church and goes home, where all the families will enjoy a warm bowl of avgolemoni or magiritsa soup, accompanied by boiled chichen and flaouna. They will also crack their colored eggs where the winner will be the person whose egg will not break in that contest. Tradition has it that the
  22. 22. On Easter Sunday, the ceremony begins at 11 in the morning. The Gospel is being read in various languages. Furthermore on Easter Sunday the well known «souvla» is cooked by almost everyone while singing and dancing is a must on this day.
  23. 23. Festivities in the village squares and in towns In the afternoon, various festive activities are organized in the village squares and in towns and these include traditional dances, and games such as tombola or bingo, the rope, ziziros, triapithkia, ditzimin, vasilitzia, e.t.c.
  24. 24. In people’s homes one can see swings where girls would sit on the swings and sing traditional songs.
  25. 25. It is customary that these festivities continue for three days. The coffee shops in all the villages are full of people. Community Councils and Town Municipalities in their efforts to revive old customs and traditions, organize various festivities on Easter Monday and Tuesday. It is a means of preserving customs and traditions but also for people to come together, for they are in great need of these in our days…

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