Easter Traditions of Cyprus
Easter is one of the most important holidays in Cyprus, with many rich traditions and customs observed throughout the country. Although the main traditions are the same, there are various local variations. For many Cypriots, Easter is a time for family, community, and faith, and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy.
One of the most iconic symbols of Easter in Cyprus is the flaouna, a traditional pastry made with a special cheese, and a variety of aromatic herbs and spices. These delicious pastries are typically made in large quantities and shared with family and friends, and are often enjoyed as a breakfast or snack during the Easter period. The preparation of flaouna is a long and laborious process, with each family having their own recipe and method of making them. However, the end result is always the same – a delicious and aromatic pastry that is truly unique to Cyprus. A few variations of flaouna include raisins and sesame seeds garnish.
Another important Easter tradition in Cyprus is the lighting of the paschal candle. This candle, which is typically decorated with Christian symbols and icons, is lit during the Easter service and represents the resurrection of Christ. It is then carried home by families. It is worth mentioning that every single paschal candlelight is indirectly, hand to hand, lit from the The Holy Fire, which is the result of a miracle that takes place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, every year on Holy Saturday. The paschal candle is a symbol of hope and faith, and is a powerful reminder of the importance of Christ’s resurrection to the Cypriot people. Its importance is even greater for the people of the island, since they live in an occupied and divided island and the liberation and reunification of the island is the top priority of their hopes.
Easter in Cyprus is also marked by the practice of dyeing eggs red, a symbol of Christ’s blood. The eggs are often boiled with onion skins or other natural ingredients to give them a rich red colour. One popular Easter game in Cyprus is egg tapping, in which participants try to crack each other’s eggs by tapping them together, before consuming them. The last person with an uncracked egg is considered the winner.
On days preceding the Easter Sunday, many Cypriots attend church services and participate in processions, carrying images of the resurrected Christ and other religious icons, while after the Easter Sunday service, families gather for a special Easter feast, which typically includes roasted lamb or other grilled meats, potatoes, vegetables, and other traditional dishes. The Easter feast is a time for family and friends to come together and share food and conversation, and is often accompanied by music, singing, and dancing.
In addition to these traditional customs, Easter in Cyprus is also a time for outdoor activities and celebrations. Many towns and villages host fairs, traditional games and other events during the Easter period, giving locals and visitors alike a chance to experience the festive spirit of the holiday. Children especially love this period, as they get to play a plethora of traditional games with the participation of the entire village and town neighbourhood.
Overall, Easter is a truly special time in Cyprus, filled with rich traditions, delicious food, and a deep sense of community and faith. Whether you’re a visitor or a long-time resident, there’s no better time to experience the unique beauty and culture of this wonderful island nation.