Greece is preparing to meet the Easter. It is not only the most important holiday of Orthodoxy, but also the largest Greek holiday, but this year it is overshadowed by the heavy expectations of the new reforms.
The Greek Orthodox Church is not separated from the state, and Easter is a public holiday. Official holiday is the Easter Monday, two days closed all offices and shops, most of the museums.
Many have already begun to celebrate Holy Thursday, and in the political life of Greece has already begun a five-day break - Greek politicians on Thursday began to disperse to the Easter holidays, and the Greeks are hoping to take a break from politics and politicians.
This is the eighth of the Easter period of austerity policies, or "belt-tightening", due to the economic crisis. All studies indicate the heavy sentiments of the Greeks - is not optimistic about the future. During the years of crisis, Greece, once I 30-economy in the world, lost, according to conservative estimates, 25% of GDP, incomes dropped by 40%, and after the holidays are coming new cuts in pensions and salaries, tax increases.
Since the beginning of the year in Greece celebrated inflation - 1,3% in February and 1,7% in March, compared with a decline of 1,5% a year ago, but connected it is not with the growth of purchasing power and demand, and with the increase of VAT on almost all products and the introduction of new taxes and excise duties. Especially risen life in small villages where there is no network of stores with lower prices.
It is noteworthy that while on some islands of the crisis is not felt.
The Greeks are still massively leave Athens at Easter - are leaving the sea, in the mountains, in holiday homes, to their relatives in the village, in the hotel. But there are changes in the geography of travel - more Greeks going on picnics close to the house, to the beach. Money on long journeys No trips become shorter.
If sent to other cities, many do not go to their cars as expensive steel gasoline and the use of toll highways, but prefer to use public transport.
Transport company KTEL, which serves bus traffic between the cities, has greatly increased the number of long-distance flights, and all the buses are full. Changes in the schedule of trains, ferries, linking dozens of islands.
According to the port authorities, in the first three days of the Great week before Easter the biggest Greek port of Piraeus to Aegean islands ferries went on 47 38 thousand passengers, cars and thousands of 5,6 2,2 thousand trucks. Last year, the ferry 43 29,2 people have left the capital in the same period, 4,6 thousand cars and trucks 1,8 thousand.
A trip to the island family of four on the car cost about 400 euros, but in general the travel somewhere for three or four days would cost a thousand euros - because of the crisis for many it is very heavy sum. So people often leave the cars at home.
Rooms in hotels in such well-known and popular tourist cities like Arachova or Metsovo, Ioannina, on the road of the island of Mykonos, in the three days are reserved almost entirely. And although the hotel is full, the list of their customers, according to experts, not ordinary employees - resting businessmen, actors. Some remained "fat" from the fat years of prosperity of the Greek economy, but most people do not have enough money.
"The euro is very expensive currency" - say the Greeks, wistfully remembering the drachma and low prices.
Of course, the Greek crisis is not the same as he was in Russia in the 1992 or 1998 years - on the streets full of cars, in restaurants and taverns are no places before the holiday is full of people in hairdressers and shops. However, signs of deterioration are clearly visible - on the streets more than the poor and the needy, many small businesses are closed. Moreover, many believe that if other governments became better not be.
According to the Greeks, for their Easter this year is very expensive. Although the market price is about the same as a year ago, buyers are fewer. Many are waiting for Holy Saturday and falling prices when the products can be bought cheaply.
Festive table 8-10 people with soup, two entrees, two salads, pastries, eggs and fruit, this year will cost from 71,31 euros to 158,45 euros, depending on the difference in prices in different stores and markets, calculated in center consumer protection (KEPKA, lat.). table price was less than 2,93-8,93 %% compared to the previous year.
For example, according Kepka, the price of mutton, almost obligatory dish on the Easter table, ranges from 5,5 euros per kilo to 9 euros. In the center said that a higher price does not mean better quality.
Institute of Trade and Services INEMY also estimated that the holiday table will be cheaper to 2,73% compared to last year - a dinner at 6-8 94,41 people will cost EUR instead 97,06 2016 euros per year. The survey also showed a decline in the price of 3,33% on meatless products that are in demand in the period of Holy Week and Lent. In particular, the decrease in prices for fresh seafood, but at the time, grew olives and some vegetables.
Holy Fire and traditions
The tradition of the Orthodox Easter in Greece and Russia are very close.
On Holy Saturday, from Jerusalem to Athens a special flight will bring the Holy Fire. In Athens airport fire met with head of state honors - to meet fire build a company of the Presidential Guard - evzones and procession in Athens accompanied by motorcyclists.
Of fire on flights 17 capital sent to different parts of the country, and then to all the church, where the parishioners are lit from the Holy Fire your candles - lambades.
This year, several members of the ruling coalition of the radical left SYRIZA made a demand to stop spending money on the delivery of the Holy Fire, calling the practice "pagan."
The tradition of the police intervened - all shipping charges decided to pay the Panhellenic Federation of Police.
Unlike Russia, Resurrection meet explosions of firecrackers. When, during the service after midnight the priest says' Christos Anesti "-" Christ is risen ", the youth begins to run fireworks and firecrackers to explode. According to parishioners, in the Gospel story of the death and resurrection of Christ is mentioned about the earthquake in Jerusalem, accompanied these events, and arranging the noise, remember the resurrection of Christ.
On some islands and regions have their own customs.
In the town of Arta burn an effigy of Judas.
On the island of Corfu (Kerkyra) in the Ionian Sea to the feast produced hundreds of large and small clay pots, and their Easter break to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Pots, painted good wishes, dropping from the upper floors in the presence of thousands prying. Every passer-by must take the happiness shard from a broken pot.
Custom beat pots there in Preveza, Greece to the west, where they were beaten on the narrow cobbled streets of "Shaitan Bazaar".
Residents of the village of Vrontadi on the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea organize a duel in firecrackers - "firefights" between the two churches located opposite each other on the slopes of the valley. Near each church is installed horizontally a large sheet of shingles, on which spread firecrackers. At the appointed time, firecrackers fly out to meet each other and collide in the night sky. This year, rocket launches can be banned - police say that many people complain about the danger of fires and demand to stop shelling. The Mayor of Chios, for his part, defends tradition. The custom of the "missile war" has been going on since the time of the Turkocracy, when Greece was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and was not observed only during the Nazi occupation of Chios and in the early years of the military junta.