Easter is the most sacred and important celebration of the year in Greece. Religious or not, you’ll be stirred by the sentiment and traditions that define Greek Orthodox holy week in Athens.

Easter ABCs

The 11th century Byzantine church of Agia Ekaterini dresses up for Megali Evdomada (Easter Holy Week).

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Koulourakia are an addictive traditional Greek Easter treat - just try and stop at one!

Photo: Eleni Veziri

Good Friday in Athens

Follow a candlelit procession through the streets

Flower power: the Holy Bier is a beautiful highlight of Good Friday in Greece.

Photo: Georgios Makkas

Follow the stately Good Friday procession from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Easter Saturday in Athens

See the Holy Fire arrive from Jerusalem

Sharing the flame of the Resurrection.

Photo: Georgios Makkas

Every Greek child stays up late to light a candle at Midnight Mass on Easter Saturday.

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

The spectacle of Midnight Mass

A sea of candles flickers at Midnight Mass as church bells across Athens announce that Christ has risen.

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Easter is a sacred and stirring occasion for Greeks.

Photo: Georgios Makkas

A midnight Easter feast

After Midnight Mass, Greeks break their fast with a bowl of magiritsa soup.

Photo: Eleni Veziri

Greek Easter delicacy: oven-baked kokoretsi (lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal).

Photo: Eleni Veziri

Easter Sunday in Athens

Traditional Greek Easter foods

The Easter celebrations begin early. Men gather round the spit to ‘supervise’, while the women are busy making salads and meze, setting the table with a bowl of crimson-dyed eggs. The festivities last until well after sunset, often with dancing as the full day of drinking wine and high spirits takes effect. 

In Athens, there are plenty of restaurants where you’ll be able to enjoy a traditional Easter meal, whether a bowl of tripe soup after the midnight service or a full-blown Sunday lunch. Usually, the best way to find the right place is simply to follow your nose.

 

FACTBOX
In 2019, Greek Easter falls on April 28. Carnival, Lent and Easter in Greece usually do not coincide with these moveable feasts in the Catholic and Anglican calendar. 

"Enjoy a bowl of tripe soup after the midnight service or a full-blown Sunday lunch. To find the right place simply follow your nose."