Experiencing what the Cypriots do at Easter was absolutely fascinating! Easter is a really important celebration for them, there was a really sense of community and love for family over the 5 days. Myself and my auntie really enjoyed celebrating such a great tradition with the Cypriots.
They celebrated over 5 days from Friday 29th April – Tuesday 3rd May and there were so many little traditions we experienced, that took place each day. On the Friday all the adults had to buy a candle, which had a toy attached too it, for all their godchildren. They were all over the place, and with so much choice available, with every little toy you could think of, from a toy car to a Barbie doll! As my auntie is my godmother she bought me one too, take a look below! (Mine didn’t have a toy as I am over 18, ha! I had a adult candle). They also buy chocolate eggs which again have toys inside! They are much more extravagant than our Easter eggs..
The main day for them was the Saturday where they celebrated at night from around 11:30pm. They all went to church with their candles and stood around a bonfire. We got there around 11:20 and there was already a massive crowd stood waiting around the church. Bang on 11:30 the priest started to read out their hourly mass. Obviously we couldn’t understand what he was saying as it was all in Greek, but this went on for half an hour. At 12:00 the fire was lit. On top of the fire was a stuffed dummy, which was supposed to represent Judas and him being burnt because her betrayed Jesus. The dummy dropped into the fire and created a massive bang which kept repeating every 5 minutes. At around 12:15 the church all went dark and the preaching stopped for 2 minutes and the whole church and its surroundings were in silence. It was such a special, I would say magical moment to experience. Once that time was up, people started to flood out of the church with their candles lit. I assume that they were lit inside by the priest. They then went round the crowd lighting everyone’s candle and everyone came together to make sure everyone candle was lit throughout the crowd. Once everyones was lit, the bells of the church started to ring, the priest said something in Greek and then everyone raised their candles in the air and repeated what he had said. The whole crowd then began to sing, and this went on for 10 minutes. Whilst this was happening the priest lit 3 big candles on the balcony of the church, and when the singing came to an end, he blew them all out. Again, everyone was completely quiet for around a minute. Another amazing magical moment! Everyone then started to walk away with their candles. We were told that you have to try and keep your candle lit until you get home and keep it lit until it runs out. All the streets were covered with people and the only light you could see was the candles, until fireworks appeared whilst everyone was walking the streets. It was absoutely mind blowing, a really special evening! A very communal, friendly atmosphere and a really great tradition!
I really enjoyed the night with my auntie, I felt so lucky to have experienced such a special evening, being able to take part too. I just loved the feeling of all being together celebrating something special. It was a really fantastic evening that I will never forget!
The Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all rest days, where the Cyriots did nothing other than be with family. It was like a ghost town on the Sunday, everywhere was closed down! Some things started to open on the Monday but some remained closed until the Wednesday morning. I obviously don’t know everything that the Cypriots do around Easter but this was just what I experienced and was told about their important celebration 😁
I was so happy that I went to Cyprus whilst it was their Easter, I love learning about and understanding other traditions. It was a real eye opener, I really did love it!
Have you experienced any traditions that you really enjoyed? Let me know below.
Bye for now,