In Greece, Holy Saturday is a day of visiting, which means food preparations had to be made to honor whatever guests happened by. Also, in the midst of those preparations there was a meal to prepare for the family. A seafood bouillabaisse joined fried shrimp, calamari, artichoke, beans, Greek Salad and bread as our afternoon meal. What a delightful treat! Somehow these things taste better when you're in Greece. The company, of course, was even better than the food.
This afternoon will be a relaxing time (in between visitors), though our granddaughters couldn't resist the opportunity to go to the beach to build sand castles and perhaps find shells. Dinner dishes needed to be washed, and a time of food settling was in order for the adults. Tonight will most assuredly be something to remember. We will attend the services of Easter as has been this city's custom for almost 2,000 years. We will be attending in both joy and awe as the chants begin, and at the midnight hour the mourning will end, and the celebration of the Risen Christ will begin.
And so it was! We went to the Church, but of course had to stand outside as the crowd already was spilling over. Luckily they had loud speakers set up. We could hear the mournful chant, which brought to mind once again the incredible sacrifice which was made on our behalf by Christ. The priest shared a brief homily concerning the real reason for Easter. There followed a moment of silence, but at the first stroke of midnight the voice of the Bishop broke forth: "Christos anesti!" (which means "Christ is alive!"). The bells began to toll in a tumultuous clatter, and the sky was filled with fireworks. The joyous singing continued as hundreds of candles held by the congregation were raised, then waved, in the form of a cross as people repeated, "Christos anesti" and equally joyous voices answered: "Alithos anesti!" ("He is risen indeed!). Suddenly it was 50 A.D. again, even in the midst of this modern 21st century church. One could almost see the face of St. Paul with emotion-filled eyes looking down on the congregation. Easter happened! Christ is risen! Alleluia!
We walked home with candles still lit, mostly in silence as we continued to experience in our own way the miracle we had witnessed. But, when we arrived back at the apartment it was anything but silent. There was delicious avlemona (lemon rice) soup, boiled lamb and countless sweets awaiting us there. It was party time!
But at about 2:00 a.m. the last of the soup was devoured, yawns replaced smiles, and it was time to sleep.