Happy Easter 2016, Cyprus!
We know few things about this country neighboring Greece, but what we all do is acknowledge the bonds with the Hellenistic world, with its traditions and even its Church. This weekend, we prepare to say: Happy Easter 2016, Cyprus!
The Cypriots, like the Greeks, are Orthodox Christians. For the Orthodox, Easter is a rollercoaster of feelings and religious experiences, the actual celebration of the Resurrection being preceded by a very intense Holy Week, one that is filled with colorful traditions and church masses.
In case you were wondering, Cyprus (and the rest of the Orthodox world) celebrates Easter on the first Sunday after the vernal equinox. If it differs from the date of the Catholic Easter, that’s because the Orthodox Christian Church uses the old Julian calendar (instead of the Gregorian one).
Sarakosti, the period of fasting in Cyprus, lasts for 50 days. No meat, oil and dairy products are eaten.
On Palm Sunday, believers leave palm leaves at church. It is their way of celebrating the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem. The leaves are left at church for 40 days and then used for incense burning.
On Holy Thursday, eggs are boiled and dyed red. The color symbolizes the blood of Jesus on the Cross.
On Holy Friday, girls decorate the Epitafios, the Holy Sepulchre in church, with flowers. Then the Epitaphios is carried around the church and the people follow it is a mournful procession.
On Sunday, we say, “Christos Anesti!”, “Christ has risen!” and the whole family gathers around the festive table to rejoice in the Resurrection. Lamb, eggs and sweets are eaten.
Easter is a happy time to visit Cyprus. And a good time to go in search of the best Eastern cultural landmarks on the island-country. With Cyprus car rental, you can do this during your stay!