“Christ is Risen!”
Most people know that the Spear family heartily embraces our Greek heritage. Since my grandfather Spear (Spyropoulos) emigrated to the United States in the early 1900’s and became a US citizen in 1931, my father, George, was actually a dual citizen of Greece and the United States. (He never claimed his Greek citizenship since he was a proud American).
One of the cool things about being a Greek Christian is that we get to celebrate Easter twice in most years (2017 will be one of those years where Easter is the same day.) It’s because the Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar while the Western world and the Roman church use the Gregorian calendar.
I gave a children’s message at Hope Lutheran Church this morning explaining some of the traditions of Greek Easter. As with our Easter, much of the celebration revolves around eggs. Off course the egg is a symbol of new life. It also is because of the amount of fasting that has taken place during the 40 days of lent resulting in an overabundance of eggs that need to be consumed! Instead of multi-colored dyed eggs, Greeks use red dyed eggs (Kokkina-pasxalina avga) to symbolize the blood of Christ. One great game involving the eggs is tsougrisma, where each person grabs an egg and tries to crack another’s egg. The last uncracked egg is the winner and that person is assured a year of good luck, not unlike our American tradition at Thanksgiving of breaking the turkey wishbone. The egg cracking is symbolic of Jesus’ breaking out of His tomb.
Of course the main part of Greek Easter is the food. If you didn’t understand why our blog has so many food entries, maybe it’s because of our Greek heritage. Will has celebrated in Chicago with Greek friends where the traditional whole lamb is roasted in the back yard. I can only imagine the heavenly aroma in the Greek countryside on Easter with seasoned lamb roasting everywhere.
So today is a great day to be Greek and to be a Christian. We can once again celebrate Christ’s victory over the tomb and our assurance of eternal life. And if a little food and ouzo is involved, so be it.
Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!