fbpx

Greek Easter Celebrations: What is Bright Week?

What is Bright Week in Greece? How do the Greeks celebrate? Where can I join the celebrations? 


Bright Week is the week immediately after Easter in Greece. It is typically a time of celebration, and you will find dancing, traditional food, and a great atmosphere all over Greece.

Why is it Called Bright Week? 

In ancient times, after Easter, it was a tradition to wear all white for a week after Easter. So, it also used to have the name “White Week.”

 

According to tradition, bright week lasts one week, but it seen as one day – a celebration of Easter until the next Sunday, which is also known as Thomas Sunday. The theme of the week is singing, music, and celebration. Also, for many Orthodox Christian Greeks who have been fasting from certain foods during the Lenten period (40 days before Easter), it is one week when usually a lot of meat is eaten.

 

History of Bright Week

Back in the Roman Empire, particularly in Constantinople, Bright Week was a very big celebration where the emperor would call the poor to a rich meal, and many gifts were given out. In some cases, prisoners with small crimes were allowed to go free. Today in Greece, a version of this tradition still happens, with state officials visiting hospitals and military camps.

Bright Monday

In many areas of Greece, the Easter celebrations continue to Monday, with more feasting and dancing. In some areas, Greeks visit the graves of dead relatives and leave red eggs on their tombstones. In Northern Greece, some Greeks will ride a swing on this day, symbolizing health and a big harvest.

 

On Bright Monday on Mount Athos, a holy center for Orthodox Greeks, some monasteries carry their icons around the mountain, returning the next day on Tuesday. 

Bright Tuesday

In Thassos, an island in Northern Greece, the tradition is to pray for spring rain on this day, following ancient tradition. The tradition is to have folk dances and to cook large pots of rice with meat that are distributed to everyone. On the same day in Ierissos of Halkidiki you will find an event called “Του μαύρου νιου τ΄ αλώνι” or “The black threshing floor”.

 

It is a dance that honors the Greeks killed by Turks in the area in 1821. As the story goes, during the failure of the Greek revolution in Halkidiki in 1821, the men of the village of Ierissos were forced to walk under an arch of Turkish swords, symbolizing their subjection. One man fought back in an act of bravery and was killed on the spot. Today’s dance recognizes his heroic act.

 

In many Orthodox Churches in Greece, Bright Tuesday is a popular day to celebrate Saints’ Days that could not be celebrated leading up to Easter. Celebrations of Saint Patapios happen in Thebes and in Heraklion in Crete, Saint Menas is celebrated. One of the most famous feasts of Bright Tuesday happens on Lesvos, where the Monastery of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene becomes a big pilgrimage destination for its festival. 

Thassos Island

Bright Wednesday

In Kavala in Northern Greece, an emotional custom called “Mazidia” (Μαζίδια) has roots in the Ottoman times. There is a big festival at the church in the village and usually the priest leads special folk dances along with the villagers.

 

Bright Thursday

On Bright Thursday, in the town of Drama in Northern Greece (also not far from Kavala), an icon of the Resurrection of Christ is carried around the farming areas of the region, to help prevent storms that could affect the spring harvest. Also in Samothraki, a small island in Northern Greece, a special festival is held for the local icon called “Panagia Kamariotissa.”

Samothraki

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Table of Contents

Looking for something in particular?
Stella
BlogLifestyle

What is it Like to Live in Rethymno?

What is it like to live in Rethymno in Crete? We sat down with Stella, a local business owner and big fan of Rethymno Town, ...
Vai Palm Forest
BlogLifestyle

The 8 Most Unique Beaches in Greece

Greece has thousands of islands and thousands of beaches. Which beaches in Greece are worth visiting? Which beaches in Greece are the most unique? Sarakiniko ...
Bachelor of Travel
BlogRegional Guides

Top Areas in Greece to Buy a Home: Rhodes (Feat. Rania)

Why should I buy a home in Rhodes? How does it rank compared to other destinations in Greece for me? In this article, we’ll take ...
Lefkes Town
BlogIn The News

Higher Budgets, Quicker Profits for Homes in Greece

More and more foreign investors are buying homes in Greece since the start of 2024. In fact, buyers are looking to buy more luxurious properties ...
Architecture in GreeceBlog

Ask an Architect: Which Greek Architecture Awards Matter?

What do all the certifications in design magazines mean? Are some awards better than others? Which awards should I pay attention to, and which are ...
Family Experiences Blog
BlogRegional Guides

Top Areas in Greece for the Dutch: Heraklion

Why should I buy a home in Heraklion if I am Dutch? How does it rank compared to other destinations in Greece for me? In ...

Compare Listings

Receive the latest news

Stay informed on the latests market insights, updates, tips and more

We’ll send you our best articles, expert insights and newest listings.​