TRADITIONAL EASTER DINNER
This dinner plate arrangement is a combination of the many foods eaten on Easter Sunday by adherents to the Orthodox Faith.
Roasted lamb, dolmades (vine leaves filled with rice), Russian Salad, oven-baked potatoes, rice, spanacopita (spinach pie), baked artichoke hearts, tzaziki, olives, cheese (kasseri, feta, kefalotiri), skordalia (garlic potatoes), taramosalata, and, of course, the traditional-home-made colored Easter eggs, breads and buns.
The roasting of the lamb is a major event.
It is a slow methodological process that involves preparation from the night before.
The whole lamb is professionally tied up unto a long metal rod.
It has to be carefully balanced to ensure that it does not fall off during the slow roasting as it spins over the barbeque pit.
The fire has to be made from charcoal, giving it that special flavour.
Those who are more privileged have an automatic device that continuously turns the lamb at approximately 1 to 2 revolutions per minute.
This cooking process takes approximately 4 to 6 hours.
Weather permitting, this may be done outside, however, many people simply cook the lamb in their garages.
Of course, roasted lamb is not the only meat dish at Easter dinner.
Because the roasting is time-consuming, and it is an all day celebration, sausages, liver and the intestines of the lamb are also served.
The testicles of the lamb are considered a delicacy.
They are cut into pieces and eaten and enjoyed by everyone.
The range of delicacies seems endless.
However, the fact is the celebration begins after midnight and continues into the late evening on Easter Sunday.
This festive occasion is a gathering of different households with each family bringing a specific dish or delicacy to the house where the lamb is to be roasted and the occasion celebrated.
The chosen house is usually one with a back yard or front lawn, which could accommodate all the guests.
Galaktoburiko, baklava, semolina halva, and kandifi are some of the dessert favourites, usually accompanied by coffee, tea and animated conversation.
It is important to know that before this celebration (which is of Christian origin), there is a period of fasting for 40 days prior to this occasion, particularly in the week before Easter when no meat, fish, poultry or cheese is eaten.
It parallels the fasting period of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion.
Because of the multicultural nature of this beautiful country of Canada, Macedonians, Greek, Albanians, Yugoslavians, Bulgarians, in fact any nationality, is able to enjoy their traditional foods these special occasions.
Should you be fortunate enough to be invited to such an occasion, do not decline the invitation, accept immediately, it would be a treat that you would remember for the rest of your life.
For those of you who are not familiar with the history of the Easter Celebration, this is for you. It is the celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Usually, people attend mass at Church every evening during Holy Week, which begins on the Sunday before Easter, called Palm Sunday.
At night on Thursday, the minister/priest reads the events that lead to the crucifixion on the Friday, which is known as Good Friday.
On one occasion, a particular lady invited her husband to attend the mass, which he had never attended before.
(It is not that some husbands do not attend mass.)
Finally after many years of enticing him to attend he finally went this time.
He was in the congregation listening very carefully to every word the minister spoke.
He learnt about Jesus Christ and His good works, about His entrance into Jerusalem, His withdrawal into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, His betrayal and arrested.
The husband learnt about the trial under Pontius Pilate and that some Roman soldiers were involved in the crucifixion.
Of course he had never heard any of this before.
He therefore found himself becoming very upset and was unable to continue listening.
He felt the need to breathe some fresh air so he went outside the Church.
Churches in this region of the world have a large enclosed courtyard where one can sit and reflect.
He was still very upset at the information he had learnt.
As people began to pass by, he began asking them which country they were from.
There were Germans, Spanish, French, etc., etc.
Finally, one gentleman stated he was Roman. Then, all hell broke loose.
The man began punching the Roman gentleman and gave him a vicious beating.
A crowd gathered and inquired why: In his defense he said that he had just heard the story of Jesus Christ and was angered and took his anger out on the first Roman person he encountered.
He was told that this happened 2,000 years ago.
He responded, yes, but I only just heard about it.
Easter Story By Bernadette Scott
The life of Spyros Peter Goudas has been full of events.
The following reflects one event that happened in the year, 1964.
For any of you who have read his biography, titled (The Immigrant), you would know that Spyros and his then girlfriend of 6 years, separated.
He never admitted whose fault it was or why it ended.
It did however send him into an emotional spiral and a deep depression.
His friends tried their best to pull him out of it in many different ways but were unable to.
Spyros, who was enlisted in the Air Force, was stationed at the Elefsina Air Base.
He never felt like leaving the Air Base, although on several occasions he had an Exit Permit.
He preferred fixing, maintaining and learning more about aircrafts instead.
The reason he did not want to go out was that he felt there was nothing out there for him any more.
Usually, when a relationship ends, the normal assumption is that the female suffers more.
Many people do not realize that at times, the man is actually in deep emotional distress, resulting in loss of appetite, lack of trust in everyone, no display of happiness, and overall seclusion from everything.
It is not something you can go to the doctor for.
It is not a case of simply having a prescription pill assigned to remove the symptoms.
Only time heals wounds such as these.
It must be noted that around this time, Spyros Goudas was one of the most handsome and athletic-looking young men in Greece.
Many girls would have fallen at his feet.
After several unsuccessful attempts by his friends, and other army members to get him off the Base, he finally agreed.
It happened to be the Easter Weekend, a time of great festivity in Greece, where food and tradition mark the season.
There are customs related to the religious holiday of Easter which make it the biggest celebration of the year for The Orthodox Church.
The history of Greece dates back past the beginning of the Christian faith. However, Greeks embraced the Christian faith and made it part of the Greek heritage.
For all Christian Orthodox countries like Cyprus, Finland, Romania and some parts of Albania, Russia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, etc. etc., Easter is the most festive. It is a time for family and friends, food, feasting and celebration.
Needless to say, these religious festivities also apply to the traditional Catholic faith.
Throughout the country an abundance of customs and traditions are held during the week prior to Easter, referred to as Holy Week.
The preparations for the celebration of the Resurrection start on Holy Thursday.
Good Friday is the most sacred day of the Holy Week, the day of the culmination of the passion of Christ with the deposition from the cross and His burial.
Since it is considered a day of mourning, housewives do not do any household chores, not even cooking. Everyone goes to Church to decorate the Epitaph (Bier of Christ) with flowers.
On the evening of Good Friday, the Epitaph procession takes place.
On Easter Saturday morning, preparations start for the festive dinner of the night of the Resurrection, and housewives cook magiritsa (a tripe and herbs soup).
Shortly before midnight, people gather in the church holding white candles which they light with the Holy Light distributed by the Priest.
When the latter chants Christ is Risen (Christos Anesti), people exchange wishes and the Kiss of Love.
With the Holy Light of the candles they make a cross sign on the front door post of their houses for good luck.
They then all gather around the festively laid table, crack red eggs and feast on traditional foods.
On the morning of Easter Sunday, in many parts of the country a whole lamb is prepared on the spit.
There is a festive atmosphere everywhere and people eat, dance and celebrate usually until late into the night.
All over Greece Holy Week and Easter are celebrated with both great splendour and deep devoutness.
It was on the occasion of Easter Sunday that Spryos Peter was invited to celebrate with his friends in an area approximately 130 kilometres northwest of Athens, in the village of Leivadia, one of the many areas of celebration in Greece.
It was the tradition that in the front yard of every house, the roasting of a lamb began as early as 4:00 a.m.
Obviously, all of Greece was aware of this celebration, so everyone went to the village and sampled the lamb from each household accompanied with other delicacies such as taramosalata, tzatziki, various appetizers, and an assortment of vegetables. You did not have to pay anything.
In addition, no one accepted any payment either.
It simply was a pleasure for the householder to have someone stop in front of his house and sample his creation, with hopes he would be the one with the best tasting roasted lamb!
The group Spyros Peter was with included the organizer of the party, Spyros Delilambros, who had invited some of his friends, their girlfriends and other family members.
Everything was progressing well and happy with the occasion stopping, tasting, joking, etc.
It was almost as if Spyros Peter Goudas had found himself all over again.
It was only at sun down, when everything was winding down as far as the food tasting celebration was concerned and the whole group, along with other groups, were heading into the Arena for the evening festivities.
However, on the way there a sudden veil of sadness engulfed him.
He admitted to his friend, Spyros Delilambros, that he did not want to continue further and would prefer to return to the Airbase.
There were obviously other cars and buses returning to Athens and the surroundings with which he could obtain a ride.
When he told this to Spyros Delilambros, he tried to persuade him to continue on with the group.
Spyros Peter Goudas declined due to the fact he was not in the mood.
Delilambros insisted he remain and emphasized that if he did not go on, neither would the group.
Therefore, Spyros Delilambros persuaded the whole group, and they all proceeded back to Athens.
The group ended up in a big taverna in the Plaka area under The Acropolis.
The place was filled with people, food and wine. Spyros Peter Goudas was even persuaded to play some music on his harmonica.
By this time, he had consumed quite a few glasses of wine and by the end of the night, everyone knew why he was in such a deep depression.
Quite a few girls openly told him that they were available to him.
However, with all that wine, he knew that he had to return to the Air Base.
Spyros Delilambros, who had done everything possible to uplift his spirits, assigned one of the girls to make sure that he arrived back at his destination safely and she was to return to the taverna right away by taxi. (She was assigned the responsibility since most of the group had consumed their fair share of vino!)
Being filled with wine, Spyros Peter Goudas was vaguely aware of the girls presence.
The next day he awoke to find 50 drachmas and a note in his wallet.
(He was deeply appreciative of this gesture).
He felt very guilty about the whole situation and the fact that he had caused Spyros Delilambros to take the whole group away from their scheduled Arena festivities.
However, this was a turning point in his life. He found himself back on track.
He will forever be grateful to Spyros Delilambros and the whole group for their kindness and understanding of his situation that day.
(Many people may not have realized the fine line that Spyros was walking at that moment on the way to the Arena. He could only describe it as a situation between life and death!)
He remained friends with Spyros Delilambros all these years, and although they had not had the opportunity to see one another for over 40 years, they were reunited at the funeral of Spyros brother, Nikos Goudas, in Athens in 2005.
It was a bitter sweet reunion).
Of course the above story took place almost half-a-century ago and many people may question the significance of this narration.
As part of the team involved in producing the biography of Spyros Peter Goudas, titled, The Immigrant, I always grilled him further, asking more and more questions which resulted in responses prompting me to see an absolutely different aspect of the man behind the label: the human and emotional side.
Spyros Peter Goudas is a very, very complex man who has overcome many adversities to achieve what he has accomplished to this point.
Some may admire him, love him, hate him, envy him or say he is just plain lucky.
The fact remains, he was not born with that perpetual gold spoon in his mouth, he has worked extremely hard to acquire and to maintain his accomplishments.
Maybe you may see a part of yourself in this little booklet and realize that when you feel that there is nowhere to go, or no one to turn to, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
There is always another Easter!!
What really prompted me to write this booklet is to show the value of true friendship and the miracles it may produce.
To Spyros Peter Goudas, Spyros Delilambros friendship, kindness and understanding of his emotional situation at that time, will never, ever be forgotten.
This was one of the most significant turning points in his life.
Please Note: Eggs may be used in thousands of recipes from all over the world, however, in this website, we have mentioned the ingredient eggs, in the following recipes.
Cheese is also used as an ingredient in many recipes from all over the world, however, in this website, we have mentioned the ingredient cheese, in the following recipes