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Easter on the island of Paros: an exciting atmosphere against the background of the Aegean Sea

21 April 2013 / 16:04:18  GRReporter
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In the centre of the Aegean Sea, against the background of the blue sea and small whitewashed houses of Paros, Easter is celebrated with pageantry and special customs. The third largest Cycladic island, with its beautiful beaches and natural coves, opens the tourist season with colours and flavours of the spring. Both the island’s capital Parikia and the villages revive traditional customs that make the holiday on the island a favourite for both residents and guests. Magnificent Byzantine churches and monasteries with Cycladic architecture are especially honoured during the Easter holidays and the famous church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani (the Church of 100 Doors, in Parikia, which was built in the first years of Christianity, plays a major role – the most glamorous liturgies on the island are officiated there.

On Maundy Thursday, experience the excitement in churches and monasteries on the island, and on Good Friday see the unique custom of the re-enactment of Christ’s sufferings in the mountain villages of Marpisa, Marmara, Prodromos, Lefkes and Aspro Horio. For a decade, the “revithada” (a dish of chickpeas) has been the lean dish of choice prepared for Good Friday.

On Easter Sunday, enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate Easter in Marpisa or picturesque Naoussa, and on Monday take part in the island’s fun fairs.

In the title role - Marpisa

Built amphitheatrically on a hill near the sea (17 km east of Parikia), Marpisa is a beautiful village with a mild climate, interesting architecture, picturesque windmills, beautiful houses from the 16th century and churches of the same period (Agios Dimitrios, Mesoporitisa, Evangelistria, Metamorfosi, Agios Modestos, etc.) with priceless treasures.

The Metropolitan church Metamorfosi is relatively modern (from 1960), built in Byzantine style, with domes and a roof covered with tiles. The Byzantine Museum is next to the church and the Museum of Sculpture is also very near.

Easter is unique in Marpisa. On Maundy Thursday evening, the women of the village climb up to the metropolitan church and stay there all night decorating the shroud of Christ. At noon on Good Friday, after the Deposition of Christ, lean treats are given for absolution, and the Deposition of Christ in Agios Georgios in Langadas is recreated directly on the rocks against the background of beautiful scenery.

During the procession when the shroud is carried out on the evening of Good Friday, there are about 15 stops and the sufferings of Christ are recreated. The origins of this custom dates back to 1937. This custom was inspired by a teacher in the village - Vasilia Kafourou-Asoniti. During the procession, people of all ages dressed as Romans or Disciples of Christ recreate scenes from the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. The drama ends with the burning of Judas.

The resurrection is celebrated with sounds of bells and fireworks, and at noon on Sunday in Marpisa’s playground, a “Table of Love” is organised with a traditional barbecue and island celebration with Easter eggs, cheese and local wine.

On the Monday after Easter, in Angeria, following the liturgy, the St. George’s fair takes part in the churchyard. Local groups dance traditional dances and give attendees treats.

Spring walks on the island

If you are on the island at Easter, combine your visit with spring walks in nature and enjoy a coffee or a meal in one of the dozens of cafes and restaurants in its beautiful villages.

Be sure to visit the picturesque port of Naoussa, walk along the narrow streets of Parikia and reach Agios Konstantinos - the area known as Kastro (the fortress) in order to enjoy unique views. Lefkes is yet another beautiful village in the interior of the island with stunning sea views, streets covered with slabs and interesting architecture. The Valley of the Butterflies, 5 km of Parikia is an area of great natural wealth. Trees are covered with brown butterflies creating unique pictures.

You will find information about Paros on the site

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