Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

The Many Greetings of Easter

March 29, 2010

Everyday Greek is full of greetings and well wishes: kalimera for good day, kalo mesimeri for good midday, kalo apoyevma for good afternoon, kalispera for good evening when we arrive and kalo vradi for good evening when we leave. Then there is kali nychta for good night and kali ksekourasi for good rest. We say kalo mina, good month, on the first of every month and kali evdomada, good week, every Monday.

Easter is the biggest holiday of the year in Greece and this week is called Megali Evdomada, the Big Week. The Greek word for Easter is Pascha, which comes from the Arameic pascha and Hebrew pesah (Passover) and if you want to say Happy Easter it is Kalo Pascha. Towards the end of the week the more common Chronia Polla (Many years) tends to be replaced by a more solemn Kali Anastasi – Happy Resurrection. This is said until Saturday night; when the Holy light is brought in from Jerusalem and everyone light their candles off it at the strike of midnight. This ceremony symbolizes the resurrection of Christ and as the candles are lighted the Greeks say Christos Anesti, Christ Has Risen, to each other, which is answered with Alithos Anesti, Truly He Has Risen.

During the days after Easter Saturday those of you in Greece might be greeted on the street or in the supermarket with the phrase Christos Anesti and if you speak Greek, you can just answer Alithos (truly). It is also what you are supposed to say if you are breaking your red painted Easter Eggs against each other to see who will have a successful year: the one holding the “attacking” egg says Christos Anesti before he or she hits it and the one holding the ‘defensive’ one replies Alithos.

Happy Easter to Everyone!