Easter is the most important celebration of the Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Week festivities are observed with particular devoutness in Messinia. On Good Friday, candlelit processions follow a flower-bedecked bier, the Epitaphios, as it is carried through the main streets of villages and towns.
Epitaph Procession at Kitries
This year the Epitaphios procession will again be held at Kitries on Good Friday at 11.30 pm. The procession will begin at the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen and proceed along the old cobbled path (which will be lit with lanterns) to the tiny harbor, where the Epitaphios will be placed on a boat. On Holy Saturday, at nightfall, the priest distributes the sacred flame from candle to candle and at midnight church bells peel joyously, fireworks light the sky and everyone says “Christos Anesti” (Christ is Risen).
Sunday is devoted to singing, dancing – often in traditional costumes – and serious feasting on roasted lamb, magiritsa soup, eggs dyed red and special sweet bread (tsoureki), making it an extraordinary festival reminiscent of ancient Greek rituals, when people celebrated the coming of spring by sacrificing lambs.