Come Together

Come together, right now

Over me

Come Together-The Beatles

Hello all! As some of you guys are practicing Easter/ Passover/ or some other religious activity. I think it will be fitting for this week to talk about religion.

In Cyprus, religion is more prominent in society then compare to the States. This can be seen with churches and mosque at every corner and typically secular places being religious (school, workplace, and parks). For most Greek Cypriots, they practice Greek Orthodox, not your common Christianity/ Catholicism/ or other Christian denomination. As a result, given some minor discrepancies with regards to calendar systems and other biblical events, they don’t celebrate Easter at the same time as most Christian denomination. In addition, Easter is not a set date every year, it varies. For this year, Greek Orthodox Christian celebrate Easter on April 19th

Before Easter Sunday, there is a weeks worth of holy gathering. This week goes as follow:

Lazarus Saturday:

As the name implies, is the day when Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, was brought back from the dead

Palm Sunday:

This a significant day when Jesus comes back into Jerusalem and the inhabitants declared him their king. This can be seen with religious figures holding olive branches to signified the welcoming of Jesus

Here is a picture of me at Ayia Napa Cathedral in Limmasol

Holy Monday:

Commemorates Joseph the Patriarch, the son of Jacob, and the cursing of a fig tree

Holy Tuesday:

Commemorates the Parable of the Ten Virgins

Holy Wednesday:

Commemorates the Bargain of Judas and the Parable of the Two Debtors. The primary focus of Holy Wednesday are of confession and repentance

Here is a picture of Metochi Kykkou and the church in Nicosia

Holy Thursday:

Commemorates with the washing of feet’s and this was the day when the last supper occurred. Typically, on this day you will see people cleaning their homes and having stavrokouloura (cross-shaped buns) and dye their eggs red.

Good Friday or Great Friday:

For Orthodox Christians, this day represents Jesus death. In Cypriots churches, you will most likely see floral arrangement around the body of Christ called Epitafios

Here is a picture of Bellapais Abbey in Kyrenia

Holy Saturday:

This day signifies the continued morning of Jesus. Most service is quiet, up until midnight were becomes loud with music and candlelight. In most Cypriots churches, you will see the burning of Judas in a huge bonfire. Judas was one of Jesus disciple who betrayed Jesus. On this day is the official end of Sarakosti lent period. This period last 40 days that goes from Green Monday til Holy Saturday. This period signifies the fasting of red meat and their products, and fish/seafoods. The purpose is to cleanse the soul. Christos Anesti is phrase that is commonly spoken which means Christ’s Risen in Greek.

Here is a picture of the interior of the Holy Cross Church in Nicosia

Pascha or Easter:

Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. On this day, most Cypriots, have a luscious feast. Some of the major traditional dishes include red eggs, avkotes, fiaoutes, paskies, tiropites, and koulouria. This is one most celebrated holiday throughout the whole year!

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the island is ethically divide, but it’s also religiously divide. In the southern portion of the island, almost 90% of the population practice Christian orthodox. In the northern portion of the island, almost 99% of the population practice Sunni Islam.

In the northern side, most Turkish Cypriots practice Sunni Islam. Although, they don’t celebrate Easter, they have do similarly big holiday. This holiday is called Ramadan.

Here is a picture of a elaborate mosque in Northern Cyprus

Ramadan varies every year, as similar to Easter. It’s primary determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. Ramadan last roughly a month. For this year, Ramadan is happening on April 23rd.

Participants of Ramadan primarily fast for roughly a month everyday starting from sunrise to sunset. In addition, most donate, pray, read the Quran, and abstain from bad deeds. The meal before sunrise is called suhur, well the meal after sunset is called iftar. Iftar is usually celebrate in a banquet setting.

Here is a picture of Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque in Famugusta

The end of Ramadan is signified by Eid al Fitr. At the end of Ramadan, a three day holiday, Şeker Bayram, is followed

Common greetings during Ramadan include Ramadan mubarak and Ramadan kareem.

Anyways, Kalo Pascha (Happy Easter), Ramadan mubarak (blessed Ramadan), or for my other folks have a great week!

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