Traditional Greek easter dinner menu ideas

Greek Orthodox easter 2013 date is arriving ! I propose you traditional Greek easter dinner menu ideas for you to stand out from any other hosts.  Preside over everybody with the below unique Greek easter food recipes I tested for you

The meaning of Greek Orthodox easter traditions and customs is notable to discover roots of Christianism. Discover Greece and symbolic delicious Greek easter dinner meals below.

1. Holy Monday quotes : On the 29th of April 2013 in Greece, it is the Great lent, the starting of harder Greek orthodox lent week.

2. On Greek Orthodox Holy Tuesday,  Jesus is in Jerusalem with his disciples and conspiracies are prepared to trap Jesus who evaded every ambush so far. In some regions of Greece, Greek women go to church with a tureen full of flour and drive 3 candles in for Unction of the next day : The meaning of receiving Unction on Holy Wednesday (Mystery given for healing spiritually and for forgiveness of sin) is shored up by the hymns in the Triodion which tell us about  the ointment with murrh of Christ’s feet in the house of Simon the Leper  The flour will be used to prepare the Greek koulouria on Holy Wednesday

3. Greek Orthodox Holy Wednesday is Spy Wednesday when Judas Iscariot prepare the arrest of Jesus in exchange for a payment by the Sanherin priests of 30 silver coins. Greek staunch believers have almost empty stomach but Greek women don’t fail to execute traditional Greek easter cookies koulourakia recipes and keep them in store for the kids and for visitors.  Koulouria (κουλούρια in greek, ) means « biscuits ».  Adopt this easy greek koulouria recipe : First of all, cream a cup of butter with a cup of sugar and a little bit orange juice. Add 5 cups of floor (and more if needed), 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Then, shape small strands of dough that you can twist. Brush them with egg-milk mixture and sprinkle with some sesame seed. Finally, bake then at high temperature in oven for 15 minutes and you are ready ! (see photo below).

   

4. Greek Orthodox Holy Thursday is Maundy Thursday when Jesus was betrayed by the disciple Judas Iscariot in the garden of Gethsemane.  Before that moment, the « Last Supper » or « Mystical supper took place : Jesus took bread, brake it and gave it with wine to the Apostles saying « This is my body which is given for you and this is my blood ». This day, Greeks carry out Greek easter egg dye recipe and remember Christ’s blood but notably the joy of the rebirth or Resurrection of Christ.

How to dye Greek Orthodox easter eggs red ? Traditional greek easter egg decorating ideas are original, simple and unique ! First of all, boil 12 eggs (to have a nice basket on your Easter table) in a stainless saucepan and then strain the eggs and let them cool at room temperature into a glass bowl. How to color easter eggs ? You can find Greek red color for Easter dye Eggs in Greece and in Greek stores in big towns but also online at Amazon.com Buy here Greek non-toxic red dye powder. Now, take some tree leaves, small flowers or onion skins. Stick them with water onto the hard-boiled eggs and wrap each egg with old small piece of skintight. Close them firmly with an elastic band. Then, put the eggs into a big bowl of cold water in which you had poured all red dye powder. Wait for 20 mns and remove eggs from the bowl with a (slotted) spoon and cool on racks. Open colored skintight and take everything off and now you have beautiful Greek Orthodox Easter dye eggs ! When they can be handled (not hands been stained) you can coat them lightly with olive oil. (See the result on photo above : On the left, simply Easter eggs colored in red without leaves and so one and on the right Easter eggs in the very traditional way).

    

On Greek Great and Holy Thursday, Greek women also prepare Greek Easter brioche and put an egg in its middle. It can get the Greek particularity if you add into Easter Greek brioche traditional spice as mastic  and it can have nice aroma if you cook it with slight orange zest. When cooking finished and after having heard the Twelve Gospels at church, Greek women gather the most beautiful easter flowers (carnations, roses etc) with which they make wreaths and garlands for the Epitaph (Jesus’ cross wrapped in a burial shroud) humming the psalms of lament for Jesus Christ’s passion. They venerate the Epitaph and pass slowly under the Epitaph to « get the Christ’s blessing »

    

5. It’ Orthodox Greek Holy Friday.  Jesus is brought to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate under charges of subverting the nation and making himself a king. The chief demanded Jesus be sentenced to death mostly because he claimed to be God’s son. The sentence given was ironically « Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews » and Jesus carried his cross to the site of execution, Golgotha and Jesus Christ crucifixion took place. The clergy wears only black vestments and singing hymns about Christ’s death. Orthodox Greek Great and Holy Friday is observed as a not working day and as a very strict fast and . Greek believers only eat boiled vegetables with vinegar but no oil at all that day. At church, early in the afternoon, people commemorate the Deposition from the Cross on the Epitaph and in the evening the Epitaphios is carried in procession in the main streets of the village or town.

6. Great Holy Saturday or the Great Sabbath is the day Jesus Christ performes in spirit the Harrowing of Hades and raises up to Paradise. Before midnight,  the Paschal Vigil (first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus) begins with the Midnight Office. All of the candles and lights in the church are extinguished and all Greeks wait in darkness and silence for the proclamation of the Resurrection of Christ at Midnight.  They all pronounce the same dialogue among others in Greek « Χρηστός Ανέστη ! - Αληθώς Ανέστη » (- Christos Anesti ! – Alithos Anesti !) that means  » – Jesus Christ is alive ! – He is alive indeed ! Greeks kiss each other trying to keep their candles lit up. Then everybody is going quickly to sit down at the table, after so many weeks of Easter lent. Greek women had prepared the Greek traditional Mayiritsa soup.

    

Greek Magiritsa soup or Easter soup is linked with Easter tradition of the Greek Orthodox church. made from lamb offal (intestines, heart and liver small pieces).  Magiritsa is eaten to break the Great Lent. It is consumed immediately after the Pascha midnight Divine Liturgy. How to cook Magiritsa ? After a good cleaning, boil the lamb parts whole in water for two hours. Then cut them up into small pieces. Flavor the soup with dill and butter and add rice at the end. Finally, thicken the soup with avgolemono (mixture of eggs with lemon juice) and salt. You are ready to impress your guests with that Magiritsa special Greek Easter soup! (see photo above on the right)

After having eaten your warm Greek Magiritsa soup, you are ready for the Greek Easter Eggs cracking!  Greek Easter eggs are dyed red because they represent the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross. The hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Jesus Christ. The Easter Egg cracking between 2 persons symbolizes Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  (see photo above on the left)

Greek Traditional Greek easter dinner on Saturday is full of joy, with white wine and dances. Greeks eat mayiritsa soup, eggs after cracking with lettuce salad cut in very small slices (with fresh onions and dill). They also start to eat Greek roasted lamb… to prepare themselves to the Traditional Greek Easter Sunday…

  

7. Easter Sunday is a greatest Orthodox feast but also for all the other Christians. In the early morning, the risen Christ showed himself in front of his disciples and told them to believe in Him, to teach everything they know about Him, to baptize every believer in the name of the father, son and holy spirit and the disciples did what He told them to do.

On this day in Greece, Greeks spit-roast a whole lamb in their garden. The lamb is roated and eaten in honor of Jesus who sacrified himself and rose again on Easter. They also roast Kokoresti which is seasoned offal wrapped with carefully cleaned intestine : sweetbreads, hearts lungs and kidneys. It’s roasted on a skewer over the charcoal as the lamb is. (see photos below), Easter Sunday in Greece is a great festivity and people eat a lot, play music and dance on traditional popular music till late in the afternoon.

    

When is Christian Orthodox Easter celebrated ? Orthodox Church says that it is celebrated on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full moon (on or after the 21st of Mars or March Equinox).

8. Orthodox Easter Monday is Bright Monday (Bright week till Thomas Sunday) or New Monday and it is Greek holiday. We continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is an outdoor  procession in big towns around the churches with people holding Icon of the Resurrection and Artos (bread symbolizing the presence of the Christ). That day we relax and think of all events occured during Holy Week. We eat left-over food of previous day but we also prepare pies.

I think it is great to understand the way Eastern Orthodox church celebrates Easter. I hope you liked my presentation. To discover more about Greek Easter, I suggest you to buy the recent book of Katerina Latsarka Whitley intitled « Around a Greek table : Recipes & Stories arranged according to the liturgical Seasons of Eastern church« . To buy just click on the below frame on the left,
      

 

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