Tag Archives: Greek Easter

Greek Egg-Breaking Easter Ritual

Text: “So every Easter, the day before we will dye hard boil eggs and everyone will have an egg and on Easter we will go around and one person will try to crack a side of your egg. and you’ve got two chances So you go in a circle until everyone has broken both sides and one person has at least one good side left. So yeah. And then they win.”

Informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California studying Psychology, originally from Palos Verdes, CA from Greek-Jewish descent. We speak in the dining hall, and she is very excited and happy to be recounting her experiences.

“It’s epic and it’s fun and you get to do something with your dyed eggs. I don’t know, you know. It was just something my parents, I guess we were doing. We do it on both sides of the family. But I believe it’s like a Greek thing, and I have heard of at least one other person who does this. Well, I never win, so you know, like I, I enjoy it because it’s something our family does every year. It’s a way to use the eggs. You know, it’s fun to color eggs and stuff. So like then you get to actually like play a game with it.”

Analysis: This tradition is an example of a ritual performed in celebration of a holiday. The term “Easter” comes from the name of a pagan goddess and symbolizes new life and fertility. The ritual furthers this symbolism with eggs also being reminiscent of reproduction and fertility. The bright colors which they were being dyed are representative of the season of spring and the blooming of colorful nature. Although Easter is now largely recognized as a Christian holiday, rituals such as these have little relation to the biblical story of Jesus Christ. This ritual could be argued to be an example of ritual license because of how the eggs are dyed and played with which are activities usually discouraged when they relate to food items.

Easter in Corfu


The informant, PL, is my boyfriend’s father who is 57 years old. He is from Greece and visits his home island, Corfu, often. He currently lives in the valley of Los Angeles and still holds his Greek heritage true to him. When I asked him if there were any Greek festivals or holiday traditions that were his favorite, he immediately named the Greek Easter tradition that is unique to the island of Corfu.

Main Piece:

Interviewer- So tell me about the Easter tradition of Corfu.

PL- Well, every year for Easter we would head down from the village to the main city center known as “Old town” (since the main is also called Corfu as well). At the edge of the city, where it meets the water, my family and I would set up and watch the yearly parade from Spianada Square. At the end of the parade, we would try to get in close to the building that faces the water to see the “finale” of the parade/celebration and watch the people from the apartment balconies toss hundreds of clay vases into the street. It was definitely a sight to see!

Interviewer- Do you know how this tradition started?

PL- I’m not sure why or how it started but it’s been going on for a very long time.

Interviewer- Do you know why they drop the pots or what it meant to represent?

PL- My mom always told me that the pots breaking was supposed to represent evil spirits and misfortune being destroyed and protection from them. The celebration represented Christ rising and new life and hope in general.


The Corfu festival for Easter is a unique example of regional folk tradition incorporated into a global holiday. Upon an internet search, I found that the informant’s interpretation of the tradition was the same as other Corfu citizens. It is also significant that the pots are almost always some shades of red, since the color is a function of symbolism in many cultures, including the Greek. For example, before Easter they dye boiled eggs red, like the blood of Christ. The pots being red also represents the blood of Christ and is likely why the tradition is viewed as a form of protection against evil.

Symbolizing that Christ Has Risen Through Greek Easter Eggs

The informant shared a Greek Easter tradition of cracking red eggs with me, while her younger sister provided supporting information. The game starts with every member of a family receiving an egg, and then cracking it against someone else’s egg. Whoever’s egg remains un-cracked at the end of the game receives good luck for the year.

Informant: The Greek eggs are dyed red because it signifies the blood of christ… the red… and um they can only be dyed red on Thursday… Maundy-Thursday. And also when you crack the eggs … when you crack the eggs it’s like Christ being released from the tomb

Support: the shell symbolizes the tomb 

Me: Do you practice this every year for easter?

Informant: Yes, yes. The interesting thing is that depending on the calendar. Sometimes Greek Easter and regular Easter are the same day. And other times it can be as many as  4 weeks apart?

Support: Yes, Greek easter has to be after the Passover and it has to be the first full moon of the month

Informant: After the first full moon

Support: Yes after, there has to be Passover and then after the first full moon. It has to be after that. Because the last supper was a Passover dinner, so we’re on a different calendar. We’re not on the Gregorian calendar, we’re on the Julian Calendar.

Informant: But in the American tradition, Easter is the same time as Passover because that’s when Jesus went into Jerusalem was before the Passover. But the Greeks have a different date for the Passover I guess.

Support: It’s because we’re on a different calendar. But it can’t be celebrated before, so those two things.. Passover and the full moon dictate when we celebrate.  



The Informant is a Greek woman who was born in the United States. She currently lives in Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA. Though she was not born in Greece, her parents immigrated to the US and she was born into a very Greek community in Phoenix, AZ. The performance was held during an Easter party, in front of her younger sister, who provided supporting information, as well as me.

Being part Greek, I have always been aware of the ‘Red Egg’ tradition my family practices during Easter. However, I never knew how in depth it went as a cultural practice. For me, it was just a game where the winner would receive good luck for the year, but as I talked with the informant I discovered that it was so much more. The tradition represents the many different components of Easter in one unified ritual.


For more information on Greek Easter eggs and why they are dyed red, you can reference page 25 of Greece by Gina DeAngelis.

Greek Easter Bread

The informant was sharing an important Greek Easter tradition within her family:

*Names are reduced to initials

Me: Can you tell me about the Easter bread you make?

Informant: Tsoureki is a traditional Greek Easter bread that’s prepared during Greek Easter week. It’s usually braided and the red eggs go into it. It’s all we served on Easter Sunday. And um…it’s a sweet bread and again, the egg symbolizes resurrection.

Me: Yum!

Informant: Sometime’s It’s braided and sometimes it’s braided in a round loaf with a cross on the top,

Support: which is our family tradition

Informant: Lots of Greeks do it though. The cross is a byzantine cross so it’s this shape

*She shows me her necklace*

Support: The curled edge is how I make it. Our family recipe came from my great-aunt that’s Aunt G. That’s where we get the recipe from.


The Informant is a Greek woman who was born in the United States. She currently lives in Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA. Though she was not born in Greece, her parents immigrated to the US and she was born into a very Greek community in Phoenix, AZ. The performance was held during an Easter party, in front of her younger sister.While the informant does not usually make the bread, her younger sister always does and she provided supporting information.

It’s very interesting how humans can adapt easily but also stick to tradition as we see with the bread. The recipe has been passed down through generations and while there are so many different recipes this one stuck and has meaning. The way the bread is formed has also stuck as the sister describe, as she always makes it in a curled manner. Finally, the younger sister is always the one who makes the bread for the family, which shows her role in maintaining the family tradition. It is very interesting that people are so adaptable, but also find ways to maintain systems that work.

Greek Orthodox Easter Egg Game

The following Greek Orthodox easter tradition was performed in New/North  on April 24th, 2019

According to the informant, the Greek orthodox church also has traditions involving eggs.

“There’s a game I love to play where we dye eggs red, which is meant to be the blood that Jesus sacrificed. Then you hit two eggs top top, bottom bottom and crack them against each other.” The game ends when an egg cracks, and the uncracked egg wins.

“ Whenever you do it you say “christós anésti“ which translates to “christ is risen”, and then other person says back “pragmatiká échei anévei” meaning “truly he has risen.” This game is fun for kids but also has serious meaning with the red dye symbolism. Children grow up learning about their faith because of the games attached, just as the informant did.