This past weekend was Greek Orthodox Easter. Our Clinical Nurse Educator, Kate, celebrated with her family and has shared some photos of the event along with the background behind this colourful and exciting tradition.
Greek Orthodox Easter is the most important religious feast of the year with customs and traditions that have been part of Christianity for two thousand years. The 40 days of Lent can include fasting from meat, milk and egg products, with the traditional feast at the end of Lent being an exciting one.
There are many other traditions of Greek Easter that may be celebrated differently around the world, but it is always celebrated at the same time which is usually after Western Easter.
Sunday is a day of celebration and visiting family, culminating in a huge feast that can include drinking, singing and dancing. The feast of lamb or goat, sometimes on a spit, vegetables, Salads, Tsoureki (sweetened bread) and many other Greek delicacies is enjoyed long into the night.
One of the very popular traditions is the cracking of red-dyed eggs with family and friends. The eggs are dyed red on Holy Thursday (the Thursday before the resurrection service).
Family and friends will crack the eggs with each other and proclaim “Christos Anesti” which means ‘Christ is Risen’.
The cracking of the red eggs has its own symbolism. The hard shell of the egg symbolises the sealed tomb of Christ, while the cracking means that the tomb has been broken and that Christ has been resurrected from the dead.
A popular traditional dish shared during the Greek Orthodox Easter is the Koulourakia; sweet greek biscuits. Kate has kindly shared her Aunty’s recipe with us.
Koulourakia (Greek Biscuits), Thea Yota’s Recipe
- 1 cup of Olive Oil
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of Orange Juice ( fresh)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar
- 4 eggs
- Self Raising Flour “oso perni” “as much as you need”
- 30mls Cognac
Cream butter and sugar add eggs one at a time. Add rest of the ingredients except flour .
Add flour at the end and slowly mix in to form a dough.
Cover with some plastic wrap and set aside to rest for half an hour.
Preheat oven to 200C.
On a clean surface, take a small piece of dough and roll into long chords. Shape the chords with your hands into any shape your like.
Line a baking tray with with baking paper and place the shaped koulourakia, leaving space between them so they can grow and rise.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when golden brown and fully cooked.
Tip: Brush them koulourakia with some whisked egg yolk or milk before baking.