BOOK NOW Arpathea Villas

Easter in Olympos

Author: Arpathea Villas

Are there still places that celebrate and experience the Easter message as intended? Yes, there is at least one. In the Dodecanese islands complex, on a small island called Karpathos, from the most beautiful in the world, on a high mountain, there is a little village forgotten by gods and people, called Olympos. There, Easter is celebrated with devotion and customs that come from the old Byzantine times.
There, women, until this moment we speak, are dressed every day throughout the year in their traditional costumes. Differently for weekdays and differently for feasts. Flamboyant costumes for feasts, simple ones for mourning. And the elders, dressed in black on Good Friday, decorate the Epitaph weeping not only Christ, but also their loved ones who are dead. Weep and tie with string flowers on the coffin of the Epitaph. Weep real, not phony tears.
But not long before the Great Saturday and early formulate the avgoules (red eggs), the tripe for the meal after the Resurrection and the stuffed lamb for the day of Easter. The church fills with people from early evening and they are all sitting reverently and hear the hymns and chant along with Father John and resurrect the Lord weeping and laughing. Yes, they will celebrate the day of Easter, they will eat their lamb too. All houses smell delicious and keep their doors open.

A great feast is taking place in Olympos on Good Tuesday. This day pilgrims will take out from the church the holy icons and they will parade them through all the churches, chapels and water sources of the village. Because the water in Olympos is more expensive than the gold. The procession will end at the cemetery. And to all the graves will take place a memorial. All pilgrims will get their treat and all together will return to the main church. It is a great honor for those who will carry the holy icons on their hands and turn them into the main church where an auction will then take place. Those who will pay more will have the honor to put the icons into their place.
The money gathered will be used for the needs of the church but also for the poor people. The honored ones who carried the icons will be invited to a dinner inside the church and will taste the lamp, which is the specialty of the occasion. All the others will get their treat, a donut. Ladies and gentlemen, the Byzantine Ester lives and will live in Olympos!