Easter Customs in Cyprus

  • 1958

Easter is considered to be the greatest festival in the Orthodox Christian religion. The Resurrection of Christ in particular, known as 'Lambri' in the Cypriot dialect, is celebrated with splendour. On the island of Cyprus, the feeling of devoutness during the Holy Week is combined with Easter customs which lend the festival another dimension.

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The Holy Week, which is dedicated to the Passions of Christ, begins on the night of Palm Sunday, when the service called 'The Bridegroom's Prayer' is held.

During the Holy Week, traditional delicacies are made and everything is prepared for the Resurrection Day and the Easter table. The faith and piety of the Cypriot people is evident throughout the week.

On Holy Thursday morning, housewives usually dye eggs red and make traditional pies, known as 'phlaounes'.

The red dyed eggs symbolize the blood that Jesus shed on the Cross, while the 'phlaounes' have long been the traditional Easter delicacy.

In the evening of Holy Thursday, people congregate to attend the service known as the 'Lord's Passions' or the service of 'Crucifiction'.

Good Friday is a day of mourning. In the morning, women adorn the Epitaph and in the evening, the people attend the service of the Epitaph.

Girls dressed as myrrhbearers sprinkle the Epitaph with perfume and flowers. Then the procession of the Epitaph is held along the streets of cities and villages.

In the morning of Holy Saturday, the service of the 'First Resurrection' is held. Around midnight, the service of the 'Second Resurrection' is held. The priest cries 'Come and Receive the Light' and the faithful light their candles.

Then he cries 'Christ has risen' and everyone kisses and wish for each other's health. Another custom practiced on Holy Saturday is the 'labrajia', a large bonfire, on which, according to tradition, Judas is 'burned'.

On Easter Sunday, the day of the 'Lambri', the traditional menu includes meat on the spit, 'phlaounes', the traditional pies, and red dyed eggs. However, each region has its own delicacies which are served on that day.

In some villages, after eating and drinking, people of all ages gather at the village square and play traditional games. Everybody has a good time and traditional local products and delicacies, such as wine, sweets, doughnuts with honey and 'phlaounes' are served.