April 24, 2011

Turkey's Christians Display Wealth of Diverse Easter Practices

With a diverse array of superstitions, traditions and customs, Anatolian Christians used to practice a variety of Easter traditions. Syriacs in the southeast used to burn threads in ovens to symbolize the resurrection, while Armenians painted eggs and burned beeswax prepared on Holy Saturday. Greeks in Istanbul, meanwhile, used to have open-air feasts on Easter Sunday.

“We didn’t have any superstitions like burning threads or anything. Naturally, traditions in Istanbul are different from those in Anatolia,” Mihail Vasiliadis, editor-in-chief of the Istanbul daily Apoyevmatini, told the Daily News.

The Easter cookies of Greeks in Istanbul are made of a special kind of gum and cooked early in the morning while eggs are painted, Vasiliadis said. “Right after the Easter service, we used to have roasted lamb and drinks. Since Easter is in the spring, we used to celebrate it in the open air.”


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