Easter Traditions in Cyprus
As an island defined by its traditions, Easter in Cyprus is a momentous and magical occasion.
Families and friends unite to celebrate, attending humbling and inspiring services at church, baking goods and preparing dishes unique to the occasion, and engaging in lavish and inviting lunches.
Whether a first-time or a long-time visitor to Cyprus, being on the island during Easter is a blessing, and affords inimitable insight into its customs and way of life.
Below are our top picks of Easter traditions in Cyprus:
1) Flaounes and dyed red eggs
Traditionally prepared at Easter, flaounes are cheese-filled pastries, infused with a host of aromatic spices and herbs (such as mint, ground machalepi and masticha), along with raisins, and coated with egg and sesame seeds. Typically prepared on Good Friday, they are saved to be eaten come Easter Sunday as a means of breaking one’s fast, with many devout Greek Orthodox refraining from eating meat and dairy throughout the duration of the Lenten period.
The tradition of dying eggs red, meanwhile, is highly symbolic. Further to the colour red representing the blood of Christ, the tradition of cracking the eggs between family and friends is said to represent the opening of the sealed tomb of Christ, thus symbolising his resurrection.
Guests of our Resort will find these traditional delicacies included in our buffet breakfasts over the festive weekend.
2) Epitaphio and midnight mass
The two main church services attended by the masses in Cyprus are the liturgy of the epitaphio on Good Friday at night, and midnight mass the following day.
Representing the tomb of Christ, the epitaphio is decorated on Friday morning with an abundance of fresh flowers (a task typically undertaken by girls from the local village), with lamentations chanted come night in a sombre and humbling service. At the culmination of the service, the epitaphio is carried outside, around the church and through the village, with the whole congregation following in mourning.
The next day, on Holy Saturday, the lights of the church are switched off at midnight, and the liturgy momentarily suspended, plunging the church into darkness and silence. As the priest lights the holy flame, he chants in celebration that Christ has risen, and proceeds to share the holy flame with the entire congregation, each person holding a lampada, a special long candle. The church (both inside and out) is flooded with soft candlelight: a serene and uplifting experience.
Guests of our Resort can participate in both celebrations and will receive a lambada each.
3) Easter Sunday lunch
Breaking the fast, families unite on Easter Sunday to prepare souvla – large chunks of lamb cooked over charcoal – along with a host of other delights. The dyed red eggs are cracked between family and friends in a playful game (the egg left intact is the winner!), and many local communities will host a series of games for children in the village square.
The mood is overwhelmingly joyous, welcoming, and celebratory.
As our own little Easter treat for guests staying with us during the holidays, our in-house artisan confectioners have prepared exquisite chocolate creations, with each suite gifted with a chocolate spring chick on Sunday April 21st, and Sunday April 28th.