Christos Aneste! Christ is risen! Also meaning…Happy Easter! That is if you follow a different calendar than much of the Christian world like the Greeks! Many you have already celebrated Easter, and we did too. We did the Easter bunny thing, but last Sunday we celebrated again. My son will get TWO Easter’s from now on. Kind of cool right?
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 (which is GREAT for us because we don’t have to split the holiday between families), and today is theirs!
I started being dragged to my husband’s Easter church service very early in our relationship many moons ago. I say dragged not because I am a heathen and hate attending church, but 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 as a wife, but not as a mother (I will explain that in a few moments)
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!), but does refrain from meat all through holy week. So on Easter eve I may have strolled back into my home at around 3:30 am. It was exhausting!
You may see why I no longer partake in this Easter tradition. Once I became a mom I decided it wasn’t a place for my young son. Now, we go to church on Sunday morning (like I am more used to). Am I allowed to admit that I am SUPER happy about that?
Sunday is the main event in my book. 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 is when my husband eats lamb brains right out of the cranium. GROSS! One 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.