Easter is celebrated by both Catholics and the Orthodox Church in Southeast Europe.
By Ksenija Jurkovic and Maria Paravantes for Southeast European Times in Sibenik and Athens -- 12/04/12
Bell tolling for Easter is part of the tradition. [Maria Paravantes/SETimes]
In predominantly Catholic Croatia, the faithful await Easter with particular excitement and reverence.
"[Easter] is where we find the entire foundation [in Christianity]. This is the climax of our liturgical year, the culmination of all of our liturgical celebrations and prayers. Simply put, our faith rests on the events surrounding Easter. It builds on our hopes for the future of eternal life," Don Marinko Mlakic, a priest from Sibenik, told SETimes.
Easter also means time with family, said retiree Ljiljana Milovic. "For me, Easter is an inspiration, a communion and gathering with my children and grandchildren. Thank God, we maintain this tradition."
In predominantly Orthodox Greece, Easter [Pascha in Greek] is undeniably the most significant religious holiday. Generations of Orthodox Greeks observe centuries-old traditions and rituals, rich in symbolism leading up to Easter Sunday.
"It is not Easter Sunday alone that makes up the beauty of Orthodox Easter, but rather the preparations and religious rites that lead up to it. Holy Week is a time of spirituality," Mina Asimopoulou, a marketing manager, said.
"The church plays a central role in creating a pious atmosphere, especially at midnight on Saturday when the Holy Light arrives and we all chant 'Christos Anesti.'"