In the Greek Orthodox calendar, Easter remains the most celebrated. It’s also closely associated with the first signs of spring and is a time for families and loved ones to gather and rejoice together. One can feel the anticipation and see the joy in the eyes of the the people from all the Greek communities worldwide. – Especially the children.
The traditional customary gift for Easter is the“Lambada” (Easter candle) which is lit on the midnight service of Easter Saturday. The exquisitely unique Lambada is a gift given by godparents to their godchildren. It’s a magical time for the children, who peering though their house windows, eagerly look forward to the long anticipated visit.
The Lambada plays a significant role in the Easter festivities. On Holy Saturday as the faithful prepare for the Resurrection people gather at church, with their Lambada candle and listen to the liturgy of the Resurrection. At midnight, the church’s lights are turned off, symbolising the passing of Christ into Hades. As the priest chants the hymn “Come Receive the Light”, the crowd lights their Lambada with the Holy Light. Everyone passes the flame one to another. When the priest chants “Christos Anesth” (Christ is risen), the believers say it to one another and receive in reply “Alithos Anesth” (indeed, He has risen) while exchanging wishes and kisses. It is truly beautiful spectacle and the pinnacle of the celebrations.
With the celebrations at an end, people carry their lit Lambada to their homes, often forming a cross with the candle’s flame at the front door of their houses, for protection of the house during the coming year