Unlike the Christian Easter, Orthodox Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon of the vernal equinox, so the date varies each year. Cyprus Easter 2013 is from Friday 3rd May (Good Friday) to Tuesday 7th May (Easter Tuesday), and in 2014 both Orthodox and Christian Easters will coincide on the same dates, Friday 18th April (Good Friday) to Tuesday 22nd April.
Orthodox Easter follows 50 days of lent, during which fasting takes place. Easter in Cyprus generally lasts for 5 days, from Good Friday, through to the following Tuesday. Most major shops and businesses will close for much of the Easter period. On Easter Saturday, everybody heads for the churches for the midnight sermon.
Upon exit from the church, they can be heard greeting each other with the words "Christos anesti", which means 'Christ has arisen', and others may reply "Alithos anesti" , which means 'indeed he has arisen'. Candles and bonfires are lit, and firecrackers are let off all around the island.
This is the end of fasting, and most people go home to eat traditional easter soup Cypriot Easter Soup(mayeritsa) and flaounes, which are traditional easter cheese pastries.
Easter Sunday is a day of rejoicing, feasting, drinking, singing and cracking red-dyed eggs. The idea of the eggs is to tap your egg hard against your opponent’s egg, and the person who holds the last uncracked egg will be lucky. It is mostly children who play the eggs, but many adults do too.
Barbeques will be lit up all around the island as spring lambs are roasted on the spit, and the wine flows freely.