My big fat Greek Easter
In Greece Easter holidays fall over two weeks in the end of April, which allows ample time to go traveling. I chose to spend 10 of those days on the island of Crete, south of the Greek mainland. Crete is one of the largest islands of Greece and as I was travelling with two Greek friends who grew up in Crete I was really excited to experience another side of the Greek culture. I spent the time camping with a group of 5-18 friends (depending on who joined us each night) which proved to be a lot of fun as you can imagine.
Crete is a beautiful island and we were really lucky that the country side was in full bloom at this time of year with camomile, daisy and other varieties of purple flowers forming a carpet across the landscape, interspersed off course by olive trees. I spent the time exploring ruins such as Knossos, relaxing on the beach and eating too much local food in tavernas.
The Cretan Easter celebrations differed slightly from the mainland, there was the traditional midnight mass on Saturday night followed by the lighting of a bonfire outside the church, except that fireworks were also part of the celebrations. Fireworks are legal in Greece so every second person was throwing and letting off fireworks left, right and centre, which gave the celebrations a slightly strange edge. No one I spoke to could answer as to why it was traditional in Crete to throw fireworks as part of the Easter celebration, but I am glad that fireworks are not legal in Australia after that night. Easter Sunday was spent eating a traditional lunch of roasted lamb along with salads, potatoes and breads with my friend and his family where far too much food was consumed. We slept every night on a different beach and even spent two nights sleeping in caves which was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed my Easter in Greece which was really different to the one I would have had back in Australia (not a single chocolate easter egg in sight) and celebrating it with friends and their families was really special as well.