I must start off this post by saying that I have to give credit to some friends who told me about this perfect name for Greek Easter. I’m sure they aren’t the first people to come up with the name but I liked it! Thanks!
I grew up in a Catholic household. My dad was brought up Catholic and my mom Ukrainian Orthodox. Although I went to my mom’s Ukrainian church sometimes when we were little when we visited our grandparents, we were primarily taught the Catholic way. My husband on the other hand is Greek Orthodox (which is similar to my mom’s Ukranian Orthodox church). This means that although the basic Christian principles are the same, there are also tons of differences in the two types of churches. One main difference that directly affects us is Easter. Our Easters, most of the time, fall on different days. This past weekend was GREASTER!
The fact that this holiday falls on different days really helps out our marriage. Holidays have been a rather big issue with us being that we both want to celebrate those holidays with our respective families. We are still working out the details, but it’s great to know that most years Easter will not be an issue. It does fall on the same date every couple of years, but we will just have to figure it out when that time comes.
I started being dragged to my husband’s Easter church service very early in our relationship. I say dragged not because I am a heathen and hate attending church, but at the time (and still today), it was tough to sit through a church service that is done in both Greek and English (Lots of Greek), which is 3 hours long, and starts at 11 at night! But I went because I loved him and I felt it was my duty as his girlfriend, which became my duty as a fiancé, and now as a wife. This year we went at church with a different strategy. Normally, because the church is so small, we would have to arrive at church 1 hour before the service even started in order to get a seat. This is how I came up with the 3 hour time frame. The actual service is about 2 hours, but being there early would tack on a good amount of time. This year it was decided that we would show up at the actual church time. See it’s kind of odd how it works. There are 2 halves of the service and after the first half normally a good portion of those in attendance leave. This is when we figured we would then go in and sit. What I didn’t realize is that this new strategy left me standing outside at 11:45 at night staring at the outside of the church for 40 minutes! I try to be a good sport, but this time I decided to go sit in the car till we actually went inside. I mean I had some good size heels on! So that was church. Once we made it inside it was fine. It actually seemed much shorter this year, and this made me happy. I told my husband it’s the last year I will be attending this service. If I am pregnant, or have a child I will not be putting myself through that again. The Sunday morning service will be just fine for me!
So in the time frame we are at about 2 am. What comes next in the tradition? A trip to the diner! What else would the Greeks do? Many of the hard core Greeks don’t eat meat or Dairy for 40 days prior to Easter. This means that after the service they are able to chow down on whatever they like. My husband does not partake in this. (Thank goodness!) So on Easter eve I strolled back into my home at around 3:30 am. It was exhausting!
The next day is the main event. Now, what do you picture in your head when you picture a bunch of Greeks gathering? Got a good picture? What did you see? Lambs turning on a spit? Loud Greek music playing? A bunch of people all with the same name?? Well that is exactly what GREASTER is all about! We go to a family friend’s house. The hostess is an amazing cook, and has so many of the Greek foods that my husband loves! There are two lambs turning on a spit, Pastichio (which is a Greek Lasagna and I LOVE it!), lemon potatoes, and many many others. The biggest gross out of the day was when my husband ate lamb brains right out of the cranium. GROSS! Last year I got tricked into eating sweet breads (lamb esophagus), but you can’t fool me twice! I’ll stick to non meat products! It really just is a nice day of lots of family and food. It’s a great tradition. I am happy to be a part of it. My husband’s family and their friends have always been so nice to me, and I have always been made welcome…even though I am not a Greek girl myself.
So this is GREASTER. I have many more years of this to look forward to. Although I pick on it I know it’s a tradition my family will continue for years to come. And that is comforting.
Pastichio is my absolute favorite. We have it every major holiday! My dad is part Greek, so it’s a must!!
Had I been smarter… I would have searched your blog for the surprise initiation! DUH!!! 🙂