Easter at Kalymnos - a great experience !
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The Greek-Orthodox Easter is based on the julianian calendar and only every few years at the same time as our Easter.
A few weeks before Easter, the island will be dandified. Everybody cleans, scrubs, swabs, colours and plants as much as possible. Most people spending the Holy Week with abstinence, prayer, services and awaiting the resurrection of Jesus. There are many masses and devotions at the islands churches and chapels.
At Good Friday Easter-processions are taking place at every village, along the way, the fold walks through the parish with the epitaph. The procession at Pothia is exceptionally gorgeous. All folds of Pothia are taking part at the choir-contest, the costume-contest and the Epitaph-contest. It takes long time until all folds have passed the jury and the resplendence of the costumes and the river of blooms is drop-dead gorgeous. Countless people line the harbour promenade, and it looks like you could met the whole islands population here. Accompanied by the unavoidable firecrackers and dynamite explosions...
At Holy Saturday there is much to do. First of all, at the early morning, the patriarch slaughters a goatling. Whilst the men are heating up the oven in the afternoon, the boys gathering dry wood for them. In the meantime the women are preparing the traditional kalymnian Easter meal, Mououri. It is a delicious dish, dressed with the goat, rice, raisins, cinnamon and many other ingredients that are stratified in a special kalymnian crock, that has to be pushed into the hot oven for the whole night. After the crocks are pushed into the oven, it is closed with stones and clay. Hereby the fire goes out and the meat cooks very slow at the oven, that holds the temperature for many, many hours. Thus the meal gets a fantastic flavour and the meat is unbelievably mellow.
Once every house had such an oven at the garden. Because nowadays there are less and less ovens at the island, family and friends get together at someone who has an oven. All crocks have to cook together into the big oven. It is understood, that everybody brings some food and drinks along. The outcome of this is a spontaneous little festivity that heralds the end of the Lent.
At late Saturday evening the fold meet up at the church for the resurrection-ceremonial. The service starts at 11pm . The whole valley inhabitants are afoot and eavesdrop the liturgy . At midnight the priest preach the "Christos anesti- Christ revived". This is the moment when the conviviality changes to a jolly party. Everybody is in high spirits and firecrackers are taxing your ears (believe it: They beat the Northern European firecrackers by far). Everybody wishes everyone else happy Easter, little snacks are distributed to the churchgoers. The party is going on until early morning.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are celebrated with family and friends. The first thing we do on Easter Sunday is to open the ovens and to fetch the crocks. Certainly everybody has to try the dish of everybody else. By and by the owners of the other crocks are arriving and pick up there Easter-meal. Certainly not without trying the dish of the others, too.
In the meanwhile more and more friends and family members are arriving to throw the party. Everybody brings something with one and cooked red coloured eggs are given out. Each one takes an egg and always two guest are banging their eggs together. He who's egg is safe will be in luck the whole next year. The Lent is over now and accordingly to this each one has an ravenous appetite. The remaining day we revel, dance and eat, eat, eat.
Easter Monday we calm down and spend the day in our family circle.