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Easter

Easter preparations begin on Lazarus Saturday. With school closed, children gather in groups and walk around the village singing “Lazarus’ Song” while enacting Lazarus’ Resurrection. A child carrying wild flowers (yellow daisies) re-enacts Lazarus, while other children sing Lazarus’ songs and re-enact Christ and Lazarus’ sisters. 

On Palm Sunday, the women take olive tree twigs to church, leaving them there until after Easter and more specifically until the Pentecost so that the olive tree will be blessed. After retrieving the twigs, the women use them to smoke their homes so that they will become blessed as well. During the Holy Week, the women clean and tidy their houses. In the old years, housewives would repaint the white walls of the house so as to welcome the Resurrection of Christ. 

From Holy Monday until Holy Thursday, housewives make their traditional bagels, while from Holy Wednesday until Holy Saturday the village is full of smells emitted by the traditional clay ovens of every house while baking the traditional delicacy called “flaouna”. 

On Holy Thursday and Saturday, housewives dye the eggs. Nowadays, although there are ready-made dyes available for dyeing eggs, many people prefer to continue using natural dyes made from dry onion peels or roots which give eggs their red colour, daisies for yellow colour and almond leaves for green colour.

The decoration of the “Epitaphios” begins on the morning of Holy Friday. In the past, girls would go around the village holding baskets and picking up flowers from different houses, while young men would gather myrtles from the rivers so that the traditional decoration of the “Epitaphios” could begin by the youth of the village. In recent years, the “Epitaphios” is decorated by the women of the Women’s Christian Association on Holy Thursday night, after the Crucifixion mass.

On Holy Saturday morning take place the Resurrection Vespers and the Holy Mass of the Resurrection. During the Holy Mass, the priest preannounces the Resurrection by saying that God has Risen and the black clothing covering the icons since Palm Sunday fall while the loyal forcefully raise and lower their seats and the priest throws laurel leaves in the air to signal the First Resurrection.  

On Holy Saturday, young men carry tree logs and other timber at the Community Park which they place in a pile to create the famous “lambratzia”. According to the custom, at the top of the pile they place an effigy of Judas. At night, just before the bells ring joyfully to mark the Resurrection of Christ and call all Christians to attend the happiest mass of Christianity, the young men lit the pile of timber (lambratzia) and gather around it.  

The Holy Mass of the Resurrection is held at midnight of Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday. The lights inside the church are turned off and the priest emerges from the Holy Bema Gate holding a bunch of 30 candles carrying the Holy Light and singing psalms inviting the loyal to light their candles. Everybody then lights their candles with the Holy Light of the Resurrection and then the priests, cantors and loyal exit the church for the litany. In the forecourt of the church follows the reading of the Resurrection Gospel while singing “Christ Has Risen from the Dead”.

After the end of the Mass, the loyal take the Holy Light home and use it to mark a cross above their front door, according to customs. Upon returning home, they have dinner which includes the traditional egg-lemon soup and a savoury Easter delicacy called “flaouna” before chinking their red eggs while exchanging wishes and saying “Christ is Risen” and “Christ has Truly Risen”.

At noon of Easter Sunday takes place the Vespers of Love and the Gospel is read in different languages. In its efforts to revive old Easter customs, the Community Council, in cooperation with the Primary School’s Parents’ Association and other organised parties of the community, organise various events. These events aim at reviving old customs and Easter games and take place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of Easter, as well as on Thomas Sunday. The events are held at the Community Park and include various traditional games such as “rope”, “ziziros”, “skatoullika”, “ditzimin”, bag races, egg races etc. 

 

 
 
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COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF MATHIATIS
Ethnomartyra Kyprianou 7
2568, Μathiatis
Τel. : 22540028
Fax : 22210479
Email : koinotiko.simvoulio.mathiati
@cytanet.com.cy
 
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