Happy Easter | Cyprus Inform
About Cyprus

Easter, the resurrection of Christ, is an Orthodox holiday, one of the few which Russia and Cyprus celebrate simultaneously.

Easter in Cyprus

This is a celebration that’s taken very seriously in Cyprus, and it is an official state holiday, when most of the population stop working on Good Friday and return to work on the following Tuesday.

School holidays are also linked to the celebration of Easter, and many local inhabitants, including British, plan their family trips during this time. The shops are filled with Easter decorations and travel agencies offer major discounts and deals.

The Easter street decorations outdo those of the New Year, with large multi-coloured eggs and Easter bunnies on almost every roundabout, even in the smallest villages.  Hotels aim to create a festive atmosphere with special entertainment programmes.

Homes are decorated with Easter symbols and many people embark on a major spring clean.  People who have been fasting look forward to breaking the fast and begin planning the festive menu.

 

Street decorationEaster in CyprusEaster decorations

We should say that keeping to the traditions of Lent is not so difficult in Cyprus, as practically all restaurants, including McDonalds, offer a varied Fast menu.

There is always bread available in the bakeries, and most people will ask what you are able to eat before offering you anything at this time.

Easter Dishes

Kleftiko

Apart from the traditional pork suvlaki (shashliks), the Cypriots like to cook lamb and mutton for Easter.

Aromatic kleftiko, made from chunks of mutton, is a very popular dish with the locals, and it’s usually cooked in a round village oven.  Large families will roast whole lamb on a skewer.

Salty and sweet flauna buns, lavishly seasoned with sesame seeds, are the most popular pastry.  The salty buns are baked with Cypriot halloumi cheese, whilst anari cheese is used as stuffing for the sweet ones.  Many people also bake pleated croissants, whose main ingredients are orange juice and eggs.

Greek muffins are baked in large quantities for Easter, lavishly covered with chocolate or flavoured with almonds.

The Greek kokoretsi (shashlik made from lamb’s intestines wrapped around seasoned offal) is also popular on the Cypriot Eastern table.

 

flauneszureki

Easter Church Service in Cyprus

The evening service is a big event which everyone attends.

Godparents must give a decorated candle to their godchild as a gift to take to the evening service.  In some villages, where the churches are not very big, parishioners listen to the service from outside.  There is a lot of commotion in the city centre near to the most well used churches.

After the procession of the cross and the church service, many parishioners go to a tavern to have soup – it has become a good local tradition.  As a rule this is egg and lemon, or magiritsa, a thick soup with lamb’s liver and vegetables.

But the main feast, of course, starts on Sunday and painted eggs are placed at the head of the table.

 

Easter decorations

Boisterous celebrations last until Monday – some people will find themselves in hospital due to over indulgence!

Visitors to Cyprus should remember the traditional congratulations in Greek «ΧριστόςΑνέστη» (Khristosanesti) and “Truly He is Risen!”–  «ΑληθώςοΚύριος» (Аlifosоkirios).