Are you planning on visiting Greece for your Easter holidays? Go to Poros island! Located southwards to the Saronic Gulf, Poros is a small Greek island that will surprise you with its pure beauty. Poros is easily accessible by ferries for it lies really close to Piraeus (the most well-known port city of Greece). Poros is picturesque and can truly offer you the traditional vacations you long for; especially during Easter, when the weather is fair and many Greek and local traditions revive.
Probably this is the most ideal period to visit Poros island because of the devotional atmosphere surrounding the whole island. During Holy Week, that is in Christianity the week preceding Easter, everyone on the island is dressed up and goes to church (Poros has several parishes), usually at the evenings.
One day before Palm Sunday, children sing songs (carols) related to Lazarus’ miraculous rising from the dead by Jesus Christ and on Palm Sunday, everybody eats fish. On Holy Monday and during this whole week, people do not eat anything that comes from animals and of course, meat, further intensifying their fasting.
On Maundy Thursday, Orthodox Christians dye eggs in red color, symbolizing the blood of Christ. The egg conveys a particular symbolism. It signifies Resurrection for it is sealed and when it cracks something new is revealed. The egg’s shell is like the tomb that opens and new life begins. That is why we eventually crack those red eggs on Easter.
Good Friday on Poros is truly unique. You can hear church bells ringing mournfully all over the island. People gather early at the church in order to decorate the bier. At night, every bier is gathered at Plateia Iroon, which is Poros’ main square. Everyone holds a yellow candle and sings mournful psalms along with the priests.
On the night of Holy Saturday, everyone is gathered again at churches, this time holding white candles. At midnight, joyful psalms are heard and the church bells ring happily and quickly. When Greeks arrive at their homes, they eat magiritsa, a Greek Easter soup, made of lamb offal, lettuces and fresh herbs.
On Easter, they roast lambs and eat homemade biscuits. A very special tradition of Poros takes place on every Easter. Young women go to the beach searching for a rock that has seaweed upon it. Later, they put this rock under their pillow for it is believed that during this night, they are going to dream of their future husbands.