Easter in Kalymnos an Unforgettable Experience.
The preperations on the island for Easter begin several weeks before. Everybody cleans, scrubs, swabs, colours and plants his house as much as possible so as to be ready for this wonderful festival.
There are a lot of events during the holy week and especially the last three days.
At Good Friday Easter-processions are taking place at every village of the island, along the way, the fold walks through the parish with the epitaphs. The procession at Pothia is exceptionally gorgeous. All folds of Pothia are taking part at the choir-contest, the costume-contest and the Epitaph-contest. It takes long time until all folds have passed the jury and the resplendence of the costumes and the river of blooms is drop-dead gorgeous. Countless people line the harbour promenade, and it looks like you could met the whole islands population here. Accompanied by the unavoidable firecrackers and dynamite explosions…
At Holy Saturday there is much to do. First of all, at the early morning, the patriarch slaughters a goatling. Then men are heating up the oven in the afternoon, and the boys are gathering dry wood for them to help with lighting up the oven. In the meantime Kalymnian women are preparing the traditional kalymnian Easter meal, Mououri. It is a delicious dish, dressed with the goat, rice, raisins, cinnamon and many other ingredients that are stratified in a special kalymnian crock, that has to be pushed into the hot oven for the whole night. After the crocks are pushed into the oven, it is closed with stones and clay. Hereby the fire goes out and the meat cooks very slow at the oven, that holds the temperature for many, many hours. Thus the meal gets a fantastic flavour and the meat is unbelievably mellow.
Nowadays there are less and less ovens at the island, family and friends get together at someone who has an oven. All crocks have to cook together into the big oven. It is understood, that everybody brings some food and drinks along. The outcome of this is a spontaneous little festivity that heralds the end of the Lent.
At late Saturday evening the fold meet up at the church for the resurrection-ceremonial. The service starts at 11pm . The whole valley inhabitants are afoot and eavesdrop the liturgy . At midnight the priest preach the “Christos anesti- Christ revived”. This is the moment when the conviviality changes to a jolly party. Everybody is in high spirits and firecrackers are taxing your ears. Everybody wishes everyone else happy Easter, little snacks are distributed to the churchgoers. The party is going on until early morning.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are celebrated with family and friends. The first thing we do on Easter Sunday is to open the ovens and to fetch the crocks. Certainly everybody has to try the dish of everybody else. By and by the owners of the other crocks are arriving and pick up there Easter-meal. Certainly not without trying the dish of the others, too.
The last few years Easter in Kalymnos has been a meeting point for a lot of climbers visiting the island to do their favourite sport. At the time of Easter every year is one of the best times for climbing as fas as climate is concerned, since the temperature is not so high as summer and September.