Easter in Crete Greece 2024: Description of Easter holidays in Crete with activities. During the Easter days we cook at Zorbas Island together with our guests. You are welcome to celebrate Greek Easter in Crete. Note! Greek Easter is very late in 2024 – Catholic Easter is on 31 March 2024 and Greek Easter is on 5 May 2024.

Easter in Crete Greece – Program for the days before Easter

Friday before Easter in Crete Greece: Good Friday on Crete is the so-called “Big Friday”. On “The Big Friday” everybody is busy with the final preparations for the Greek Easter celebration. On this Friday (3 May 2024) we will do a tour through the interior of Crete with many Easter activities, in non-touristy areas. We will go to a village where the crucifixion of Christ is recreated. This is a Greek ritual for Easter and symbolises Christ’s suffering on the cross.

In the evening, join us in the mountain village of Anopolis where an Easter procession takes place. The villagers walk from the church behind the symbolic tomb of Christ through the village streets. Before participating in the procession, we eat in a classic mountain tavern.

Easter in Crete Greece – Easter program and the days after

On Saturday, 4 May, we will paint Easter eggs. In the evening, we walk to the church in the village. There we collect the holy fire which is spread by the priest and those present. At midnight, there are fireworks and a Judas doll is burned.

On Sunday 5 May (Easter Sunday), we have an elaborate Greek Easter BBQ at the end of the afternoon with live music.

On Monday 6 May (Easter Monday): Cooking workshop in the olive field.

Tuesday after Easter: A Easter walk of 8-10 km on Crete. A nice walk in the are with a lot of flowers.

Easter in Crete Greece – Information about Greek Easter

Greek Easter: Many people are not really familiar with the celebration of Easter in Crete Greece. We will explain you something more about it: nowhere in the world is the Easter week experienced as intense as in Greece. Nature is at her best during this period. From the Monday before Easter, the Greek call the days every day “big”: “Big Monday”, etc. On all these “big” days it is fun to have a look in the villages at the preparations for the Easter festivities. There is a lot of activity.

Almost all villages make an Easter bonfire, which is lit on Big Saturday. The young people are busy all week to collect wood. In one village the pile of wood is even higher than in the other. Often there is a sort of rivalry between the villages; which village will have the largest fire. During this week you already her the first fireworks during the collection of the wood.

The preparations for Easter

During the preparations of Easter, it is worth it to just go and sit at a market square. Old Greek women will walk by with bread that they prepare at home. They go and bake their own Easter bread in the oven of the local bakery. Everybody will paint their eggs red. When the old fashioned way is used, the inside of the eggs will be just as red as the outside! On Good Friday, “Big” Friday, everyone goes to church in the evening. Leaving the church, the priest will walk in front and behind him young men carry a symbolic tomb of Christ.

The boys who carry this ornate symbolic tomb are almost always the guys who will leave for military service the following year; this is basically an unwritten village rule. The boys go with the tomb past all the chapels and churches of the village. Old women pass crouching underneath the symbolic tomb, hoping for miracles. When the procession returns to the church where they began, everyone goes home. At home people often eat soup and salad for dinner. On “Big” Saturday Easter actually begins. After 40 days of fasting (usually only the older generation adheres to this tradition) everybody can get back to meat and milk.

The evening before Easter

On Saturday evening (Easter), the priest proclaims at midnight that Christ has risen. To be honest, nobody really hears the priest, because as soon as he comes out of the church the fireworks start exploding! The sky is red and there is a lot of explosive popping noise. In the earlier years on Crete people were shooting with guns in the air.

Everyone now goes with a candle to get the “sacred” fire from the candle of the priest. This is fire from Jerusalem. Then everyone goes home with a burning candle. What you see is really great: people are driving by car from the church to their house trying to make sure that the candle does not extinguish! Actually, the tradition is to walk home with a burning candle in your hand. At home people burn with the candle a black cross on the wall above the door for good year wishes.

Just watch when you are in Greece; you will frequently encounter a black cross over a door. It is also tradition to brake the eggs against each other. People eat until late at night.

Easter Sunday in Crete: The tradition of Easter Sunday is really nice. Early in the morning families tie the lamb on the spit and use wood from grapes and olives to start the fire. It is a real chore to get the lamb on the spit in the correct way. The lamb needs to turn on the spit for at least 6 hours. The Easter lamb starts to be roasted over the fire already around 8 am. It is very normal to consume the first wine already in the morning. At about 2 in the afternoon the family sits around the table and everywhere you hear the pleasant sounds of real Cretan music. Most people repeat the same story on Monday.

If you are interested in Easter holidays on Crete, please send us an e-mail. We offer you options in combination with accommodation in Crete, Greece. Check out our accommodation page: holidays apartment rental Crete.

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Easter in Crete Greece