30th April to 7th May 2013
Easter is the biggest event in the Greek Orthodox calendar and guests at the Mistral will have the chance to celebrate in true Cretan style. You will join local people as they listen to the chanting of Easter rituals and join processions following an effigy of Judas.
It is a special time to be in Crete as the spring flowers are in bloom, there are many migrating birds and the devout celebration by the Greek people makes the atmosphere intense and alive.
Today we visit the remote 13th Century monasteries of Gouverneto and Agia Triada for a special evening Easter service where you can light a candle and savour the heady smell of Jasmine and roses. Here you will see a symbolic tree bearing four different citrus fruits representing the coming together of the nations.
Join the dignitaries and people of Chania who, accompanied by a band playing the funeral march, process solemnly through the streets following an effigy which has lain in church all week. When it finally reaches the Cathedral, it is held aloft by the priests as the congregation passes underneath, touching it for a blessing.
Mistral guests will celebrate at a local church where just before midnight, the priest emerges carrying and ancient silver bible. On the stroke of midnight, the rituals come to a climax and the greeting "Christ is risen" is cheered by everyone. This is when the bonfire is lit and the macabre effigy of Judas is burned. The priest then lights the candle nearest to him, signifying the triumph of good over evil, and soon a forest of twinkling candles illuminates the scene. To bring good luck for the coming year, guests will carry their lighted candle back to the Mistral, stopping to make a sign of the cross over the doorway.
Preparations for the Mistral Easter feast begin early with a whole sheep and goat being roasted over a spit, as guests help to lay the long tables as family and friends arrive. The kitchen is a hive of activity all day with Mama Katerina baking special Easter cakes and dying hard-boiled eggs red for the custom of cracking them with friends. The feast continues for several hours and is accompanied by copious amounts of wine and laughter. Later in the evening, there will be traditional Greek dancing with live music.
The Greek Easter week is not something that most tourists have the privilege of experiencing first hand. Guests at the Mistral will be able to enjoy the true flavour of this special time by mingling with family and friends and taking part in the unforgettable and often moving Easter celebrations.
|Dates and Prices|
|Greek Easter 2013||Superior room
|30th April to 7th May||£682||£745|
Repeat guests will receive a 5% loyalty discount. Prices include transfer from Chania airport , 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners (including wine and coffee), Easter Sunday feast, excursions and transportation costs. Prices do not include flights or travel insurance.
- Wednesday - visit to Agia Lake, orange picking and Therisso Gorge
- Holy Thursday - free day/evening trip to Gouverneto and Agia Triada monastery for the special Easter service
- Good Friday (morning) - street market festivity in Voukolies and Easter fasting lunch at the Mistral
- Good Friday (evening) - early dinner and attending the Effigy procession at Chania Cathedral
- Good Saturday - midnight church service for the representation of the resurrection of Jesus
- Easter Sunday - festivities and Easter feast all day at the Mistral
- Monday - optional trip to the village of Argiroupoli (Minoan and Roman city of Lapa) and the water falls