The above image is the picture of a loaf of Easter Bread, one of the traditional foods of the Easter celebration within the Greek Orthodox Church. This weekend marks the end of the Great Lenten Fast that is observed prior to the Feast Day. All of the faiths of the Orthodox churches have Easter this weekend; the Russian, the Greek, the Ethiopian, the Bulgarian, the Serbian, the Albanian, the Egyptian Coptic and as well as some of the Eastern Rites of the Church of Rome.
The Easter Bread featured above is particular to the Greek communicants. The other churches in the Orthodox faith have their own customs and recipes. The egg that tops the loaf is dyed red in symbolism of the blood shed through the Crucifixion and the lashing before the Jerusalem crowds.
The above photo depicts the epitaphios, the structure that adorns the interior of churches on today, which is known as Great Friday. Unlike the Western churches, this day is observed as a great day due to the crucifixion and death so it is in no way deemed a good Friday. Inside, the icon (holy picture) of the Crucifixion is stored and the congregation worships it as a reminder of the Tomb. Below is an image of the Great Friday icon that is used in churches for today.
Services for the Easter celebration commence at approximately 11:00 p.m. on the evening before and at precisely midnight the Easter Liturgy begins by candlelight as symbolic of the “lighting of the world.” The Great Friday icon is replaced with the Easter icon (below) as the rebirth of humanity is honored. This Feast Day is the paramount day of commemoration in all Orthodox faiths.
This Sunday, my spouse, Aaron, and I will be driving to the home of my identical twin brother, Alex, and have our Easter feast with he and his partner. In case anyone is curious, yes, our Easter meal is completely clothes-free!
Happy Holy Easter to all!