Greek Easter Traditions
Greek Easter Bread: Represents Christ the “Bread of Life”
Red Egg: The color represents the blood of Christ
Easter Eggs: Represents the whole meaning of Christianity.
1. When a new chick is born he has gone through a process of much struggling to shed he bonds of the eggshell to become a new life.
2. When Christ came out of the tomb he had to shed the bonds after the hindrance of the stone and He came out as a new life.
3. When we become Christians we have to struggle to let go of all the bonds of sin and we start new lives.
At the end of the Easter service (which is done on Saturday evening from 12:00 A.M.-3:30 A.M.) the Priest gives the traditional “RED” Easter eggs to the congregation, who each in turn crack them by tapping them against the egg of a fellow worshiper. As they do this, they exclaim, “Christ is risen!” The symbolism for this is to remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His ultimate triumph over death and sin. The red color signifies the blood of Christ shed on the cross. The shell of the egg signifies His three day entombment, and its breaking is His resurrection. The cracking of the egg among Orthodox Christians represents a mutual desire for breaking the bonds of sin and death and for entering the new life made available from Christ’s resurrection.
The Orthodox Christians serve this Easter bread at the Easter dinner with lamb being the traditional dinner meat. (Typically the lamb is in remembrance of Christ the Pascal Lamb.) So on this Holy Day, break the bread and celebrate that Christ broke the bonds of the tomb and death once and forever.
For the next 40 days, until the celebration of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven, every Orthodox Christian greets each other by first saying “Christ is Risen” to which the other person responds “Truly He is Risen”!!! (In Greek, it is “Kristos Anesti”! (kree-stos’ a-neh’-stee) and the response is “Alithos Anesti” (a-lee-thos’ a-neh’-stee)!!!