Its Monday and I’m feeling even more sluggish than usual. After all the delicious food that I ate at Easter yesterday, I just want to crawl under my desk at work and take a nap! Did everyone have a great weekend? The weather in Chicago was PERFECT, finally a beautiful spring weekend! Saturday I headed to Parlor in Wicker Park for a friends engagement party. They have been dating for seven years, I am so happy for them!! If you are ever in Chicago, Parlor is one of my favorite places to eat and get drinks. They have two locations. One in Wicker Park which is their newest location and the other is in the West Loop! Great outdoor patio, wood-fire pizzas, beer and delicious cocktails.
Easter is a big holiday with my family, so I wanted to share some traditions with you and a little information about the holiday! My dad is Catholic and my mom is Greek Orthodox as are my sister and I. So usually every year we celebrate two Easters because American Easter and Greek Easter don’t always fall on the same day, but for the last two years they have! There are three things that are calculated into determining when Greek Easter will be:
- It is based on the Julian Calendar, not the Georgian calendar
- It must fall after the Jewish holiday of Passover
- It must be on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox
There is a lot of fasting involved within the holiday and very strict calendar to follow. Things that are not allowed during the 40 days are meat, poultry, pork, game, fish, dairy, eggs, and butter. That is SO hard. My family eliminates meat on Wednesday and Fridays and the first week of lent try and stay away from dairy and the last week try not to eat meat. For breakfast and lunch, it’s really easy for me, but when it comes to dinner that seems to be the most challenging. One year I decided to not eat dairy, meat, poultry, pork or game and I did great for three weeks and then I couldn’t last any longer without cheese so I slowly added that back into my meals.
The weekend of Easter we usually go to Church Friday and Saturday. Holy Friday and Holy Saturdays services are SO beautiful if you are intrigued by other cultures/religions I highly recommend going to a Greek Orthodox or any orthodox church during Easter! My favorite service is the midnight service on Saturday. It has been a tradition in my family to go every year since we were old enough to stay up late. Now that my sister has little ones under the age of two this makes it a little difficult so we just go to Church on Easter morning. At the midnight service, Church is always overflowing with people.Right before midnight, all the lights are turned off. The priest says “Christos Anesti” (khree-stohss ah-nes-tee) this means ‘Christ has risen’. Everyone in Church is holding a candle and the priest passes a flame throughout the church and then within a couple minutes, the whole church is lit up just by candlelight, it’s really beautiful. After the priest says Christos Anestis the congregation replies “Alithos Anesti” (Ah-lee-thohss ah-nes-tee) ‘truly he has risen’.After the service at two in the morning, we would go out to breakfast! This was always one of those nights like New Year’s Eve I looked forward to when I was little because I could stay up WAY after my bedtime haha.
Now onto the delicious food traditions. After 40 days of fasting, it’s time to eat!
Our Food Traditions
Tyropita: Small cheese pie triangles
Greek Potatoes that are roasted with the Lamb
Tzatziki: Used with Pita wedges and lamb
Pita wedges: For dipping
Spanakopita- spinach pie with feta cheese, onions, and scallions
Kourabiedes- walnut sugar cookies with powdered sugar
Shop Maria’s Look:
Thank you for reading and learning about my family traditions!