There used to be a joke in England some years back about “The African Queen” always being shown on television at Christmas. It being Easter week in Greece, the television channels are as usual all dusting off and putting out their old religious films and series. This happens twice a year so we will get them all again at Christmas. In the meantime here, apart from Orthodox services, is this Easter’s list. I notice some of the old favourites like Quo Vadis and The Greatest Story Ever Told etc., are missing but we do have - The Mysteries of the Bible (series), The earth of Jesus (Greek documentary), Barabbas, The Passion (series), Esther and the King, Liturgy of the Epitaph, (two channels), Jesus of Nazareth (series), Jesus of Nazareth on another channel, King David, The Ten Commandments, (also on two channels), Ben Hur, Judas, Salome, In The Beginning, Holy Paths (Greek), The Bible/Joseph (US German Italian drama), Riddles of the Bible (As opposed to mysteries I suppose). This one’s from National Geographic), Biography of Judas, Inside Jerusalem’s Holiest Places (also National Geographic), The lost tomb of Jesus. More series than films this time around.
Once past midnight Saturday and Jesus has been resurrected, the religious bit can stop and we can all go back to more mundane stuff like Superman, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra etc.
Friday night Chris and Douglas went to a little village called Douliana for the epitafios, that is Jesus on his cross being taken down, placed on a bier and walked around the village in procession. They normally attend it in Vamos but we had visitors from Athens who wanted to do Douliana so that is where they went. The procession around Vamos is quite a long one so by the end of it many, like little old ladies, have fallen out, having done their bit. Those like me who don’t feel up to it don’t bother. The same applies to the anastesi (resurrection) last night when the holy flame is passed from candle to candle, a great deal of kissing goes on, the church bells ring out in triumph, the bonfire is lit to burn Judas and everyone greets each other with ‘Jesus is risen’ to which the answer is ‘He has truly risen.’ There is a positive barrage of fireworks and rockets lighting up the sky (I watched that from the terrace) and any number of guns being fired into the air. I haven’t been to this one either for a couple of years now but Chris and Douglas go; not for the religious bit but to bond with the community. Our Greek friends and neighbours do appreciate it and they know the old papoose as he approaches his seventy ninth birthday ain’t up to it no more.
Today, Sunday, we will be going across the road to our friends and neighbours, Janis and Vana for Easter lunch barbecue style. Goodness knows how many lambs will have been slaughtered. Last year there were thirty people or more there at three long tables under the trees and enough food and wine to feed an army. This we’re really am looking forward to.