Greeks celebrate Easter in their own unique way. They start the holiday as early as Lazarus Saturday, which precedes Palm Sunday. And that’s not the only difference! Have you perhaps wondered what meals Greeks eat on Easter?
Before the holiday, during Holy Week, there is a strict fast. Religious Greeks usually eat challah, seafood such as squid, octopus or taramasalata – a dip made from cod’s milk – during this time. Interestingly, oil or oregano is sacred on Holy Wednesday, as the Greek people believe they have life-giving powers.
A typical Easter soup is magirica, which is cooked from mutton or goat offal with lemon, dill and onion . Also served is a festive sweet bread called tsoureki, which is similar in taste to the challah we know.
An unusual sight on the streets of Greece are men who sell or serve pieces of mutton. Spit-roasted mutton is one of the traditional Easter dishes.
Some families set up a hearth next to their homes on Easter Sunday. And there they prepare kokoreci – mutton liver seasoned with spices and baked in the intestines. It is a real delicacy for Greeks, but eaten only during Easter.
The main dish on Easter Sunday is a large portion of mutton or goat with herb-roasted potatoes and huge amounts of lettuce.
Before that, appetizers are served, such as octopus, choriatiki, various types of olives and feta cheese cut into large chunks and poured with olive oil. This is accompanied by plenty of homemade white or red wine, which can be bought at almost any vegetable shop for about 2 euros a bottle.
Easter is a Christian holiday that is strongly associated with culinary traditions. Do you know why we eat a variety of specific foods just at this time? Find out what their significance is.
On Holy Saturday, traditionally a basket of food is taken to church to be consecrated by a priest. In the basket are put: Easter eggs, a piece of sausage, bread, pepper, salt, a lamb, decorations. Food from the święconka should be kept until Sunday and eaten at the Easter breakfast.
According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, in early Christianity eggs were one of the forbidden foods during Lent. Stuffed eggs are another Easter dish often found on Polish tables
Sour soup is a sourdough soup made from rye flour. On Easter it is usually served with boiled white sausage and halves of a boiled egg. Instead of sour soup, white borscht is sometimes served
The distinctive buns with a cross in the middle are a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion. They were traditionally eaten on Good Friday, as they were made from a simple mixture of flour and water.
In Poland, ham is much more popular than lamb. The jars stood all winter and usually the first ham was ready for consumption just before Easter.
Another sweet treat of a Polish traditional dessert for Easter is the mazurek cake. This flat, crumbly cake is relatively easy to make and very tasty.
Poppy seed cake is a cake both associated with Christmas and Easter. Its main ingredient is, of course, poppy seed paste, layered with dough in the form of a roll. Poppyseed cake is loose but moist; often covered with icing and decorated with orange peel.
Easter babka is traditionally the main “nail on the head” among Easter sweets. Topped with icing and sprinkled with raisins and lemon zest, it is a true end to Lent.
Despite the great devotion to tradition and observance of the requirements of the Lenten and Easter periods, some ways of Easter time may surprise us. Easter is a holiday with a great and rich history. Over the centuries, customs have changed and lost their original character. In many countries, Easter is simply a time of rest and a respite from daily affairs. However, let’s try, at least for a moment, to remember what they are about and their spiritual dimension.