Spetses is one of the most beloved destinations for Easter. The island readies itself to welcome visitors after a long winter to enjoy spring at its finest and to celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter with grand splendour and a variety of cultural and ecclesiastical traditions.
With church services being held every evening of the Holy Week, there are two services you must be aware of and are thoroughly recommended for those who wish to immerse into a true, traditional Greek experience. Good Thursday (or “Grand” in Greek) is dedicated to the Epitaph that is followed around town through the alleyways to the central square. In Spetses, the four main parishes (Analipsi, Agios Antonios, Agios Nikolaos and Agios Ioannis) participate in the procession with the followers singing hymns and holding lit candles. A true sacramental feeling overcomes all who witness this tradition, regardless of religion or beliefs!
The epitome of Easter is the Resurrection of Christ, celebrated in the Orthodox Dogma on Holy Saturday at midnight when bells ring and chant ‘Hristos Anesti’ (Christ Has Rissen). Again, all four parishes and the monastery hold their own services and each one is a unique experience. Others are loud with fireworks and bangs, while Analipsi church also blows up a wooden boat to make a little more noise than the others. Agios Nikolaos, as the Archdiocese of the island, welcomes local and regional authorities, politicians and celebrities, while Agios Ioannis and Agios Antonios are preferred by locals and visitors nearer town. The monastery, which forbids loud fireworks, offers a more solemn, but truly magical experience by celebrating the Resurrection in the graveyard.
An ongoing, Spetses tradition on Easter Sunday evening, is also the “Burning of Judas” on the Dapia seafront and is accompanied by a firework show enthusiastically watched by thousands of visitors!
Apart from the vast amount of Greek traditions that take place and that are certainly experiences you mustn’t miss, spending Easter in Spetses offers the combination of this immersion into Greek culture, while also enjoying the spring at its finest. If the weather is too cold for a swim, Spetses pine forest with its breathtaking views from above is waiting for you and the general buzz and liveliness of the island will make it difficult for you to leave and not return again soon!