The Holy Week is important to the inhabitants of Koufonisi.
It is celebrated in reverence, as the Lord’s Resurrection means a lifting of the soul for the inhabitants.
It is the beginning of spring.
The island is filled with visitors, who, along with the sunshine, help lift off the wintry mood.
St George’s church is daily filled with people.
On Thursday all households prepare the traditional red Easter eggs.
After the evening Mass the Bier of Christ (Epitaphios) is adorned with flowers by local women chanting a dirge. This usually lasts until the small hours.
During Mass on Good Friday they divide into small choirs and chant the hymns alternately, verse by verse. People spontaneously join in. Afterwards the Bier is carried around the village and the young escort it carrying torches, which makes for a riveting sight.
At midnight on Saturday the crowds converge upon the alley outside the church, holding the traditional white candle to receive the Holy Light of the Resurrection.
When “Christ has risen” is heard from the church, the street becomes a scene of people embracing and wishing each other peace and love, while the sky becomes alight with fireworks and flares.
They then either return home or go to a tavern for the traditional meal of magiritsa (a liver and herb soup)
The feasting lasts until the small hours.
On Easter Sunday everyone wakes up early.
They prepare the island’s traditional meal of stuffed goat in the oven, while they also prepare the charcoal fires for the whole lambs on the spit.
Again the feasting lasts until the next day, with music, dancing and drinking.
All the taverns are open with tables laden with traditional dishes, the speakers blaring out folk music and the fun goes on.