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Easter in Pyrgos -Santorini

Colored by the customs and traditions of Santorini, brimful of images, scents and flavors, Easter in the beautiful island is simply unique.  Against  the backdrop of the awesome beauty of nature,  touched by the magic of spring, the Holy Week leads up to Easter Sunday in devoutness: the people of the island are fasting, attending masses at the numerous Orthodox churches every day, while women decorate their houses, prepare the traditional Easter brioches (melitinia) and cookies, and dye eggs red (symbolizing the blood of Christ).

Good Friday is the day of the Epitaph.  Under a solemn atmosphere, a procession starts from each church carrying the Epitaph, people singing a religious lament hymn, holding candles.  The most spectacular of all is the one at the mountain-top village of Pyrgos. Pyrgos is high up, it towers over the rest of Santorini island and the view from there is breathtaking during the day. But on this night…Good Friday night, the villagers do something very special. They light up the entire village (no less than 25.000 candles in every house, every roof top, every church, every path), lining the rooftops, the meandering streets, the Old Castle and the path of the Epitaph's procession, in a magnificent spectacle that seems to blaze up the entire village. As Pyrgos towers over the rest of the island, it looks like a huge flickering crown in the darkness. In truth, this has little to do with religious beliefs and everyone will appreciate it simply because of its sheer beauty. It is a truly magical sight, not to be missed.

Then, the Holy Resurrection is celebrated with spectacular fireworks over the villages and bells ringing gloriously all around the island, while worshippers start leaving the churches with their candles lit and head home to have the traditional Easter soup and red-dyed eggs, which mark the end of their fasting.

Food is the center of Easter Sunday festivities, with delicious traditional tastes to enjoy, apart from the roast lamb -another symbol for the sacrifice of Christ. 

Preparations start in many households at the crack of dawn, but it's worthwhile since the Easter meal is the culmination of all the festivities and brings families, even villages, together with lots of colorful singing and dancing that last till late in the afternoon.  At Perissa the locals hang an effigy of Judas and shoot at it until it burns, while at the main square of Pyrgos the "trial of Judas" takes place, after which his effigy is burnt.