Ceremonies and Festivities

It is a breezy spring day on Symi. Birds are chirruping in the lane and gulls are wheeling over the harbour, chasing bits of bread tossed on the waves by passing visitors. The island has been steadily filling up as Symiots from all over Greece return to Symi for the Easter celebrations and every ferry arrival brings happy reunions. There are lots of young people around as the universities and colleges are closed for the holidays and Symi’s youthful population has returned to help with the ceremonies and festivities.

Visitors who have never been to Greece at Easter may be surprised at the seriousness with which Easter is celebrated here in comparison to the commercial chocolate fest that it has become in many Western countries. Indeed for many Symiots nothing more substantial than halva is consumed this week as even those who don’t fast for the whole of Lent do so for Big Week. In the Greek islands Easter is definitely a religious event rather than an excuse for a four day bank holiday and being able to share all aspects of the festival with close family members is important. Tomorrow evening, Good Friday, the bells will toll as each parish has its candlelit procession with icons and funerary biers. It is taboo for carpentry work to be done on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. On Saturday evening everyone goes to church to celebrate the Resurrection at midnight with the customary fireworks and dynamite, followed by the traditional breaking of the fast with mayeritsa soup. Early on Sunday, fires are lit for the roasting of lambs and the day is spent in convivial celebration, culminating with the burning of the effigy of Judas in the harbour.

Have a good weekend, and Kalo Pasca everyone!



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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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