With belief in the resurrection of Christ being so central to Christianity, Easter (falling on April 16 this year), and its lead-up, is a very meaningful time for Christians all around the world, with many attending church services even if they wouldn’t ordinarily do so. For the close to two thirds of Australia’s population identifying as Christian (according to Census, 2011) Easter also tends to bring to mind images of hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, baby animals, Easter egg hunts, and – of course – the Easter bunny.
But in the melting pot of Australia, cultural differences abound among various multicultural audiences celebrating Easter. The Greek Orthodox faith – for one – has some particularly noteworthy traditions around Easter.
And with close to 400,000 Australians claiming Greek ancestry, and just shy of 100,000 born in Greece, Australia is home to one of the largest Greek communities in the world. The cultural significance of this time of year means it is an excellent chance for Australian brands to connect with the Greek community at a time when they are particularly receptive.
Taking a closer look at Greek Orthodox Easter
A popular and funny Greek expression is ‘I’ve lost my eggs and baskets’ pronounced ‘echo chasei ta ayga kai ta kalathia’ and meaning ‘I have no idea what’s going on!’ Apt symbols at Easter time, indeed! But never fear – If you’ve lost your eggs and baskets about Orthodox Easter, here are a few interesting facts to get you up to speed:
- Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations kick off a full 2 months before Christian Easter celebrations with with Apokries, a carnival with customs like masquerade and games ahead of the mournful 40 day lent period.
- Orthodox Easter is also sometimes celebrated on different days to Catholic Easter, due to Catholics following the Gregorian calendar, and Orthodox Christians following the Julian calendar. Both Easters fall on April 16 in 2017.
- For Greeks, Clean Monday marks the beginning of the lent period.
- On Good Friday, flags may be lowered to half-mast to mark the mournful day. At midnight mass on the Saturday, Christ’s resurrection is celebrated with the lighting of candles and the phrase ‘Hristos Anesti’ (Christ has risen) is the normal greeting between friends and family for the following few days.
- Greek Orthodox faithful dye eggs with bright red dye – a symbol of new life, and the blood of Christ. These eggs are used in a game, where challengers try to crack each other’s eggs. The winner is assured good luck for the rest of the year.
- Wish your Greek Orthodox friends a Happy Easter by saying, ‘Kalo Pashcha!’
For more advice and insights on targeting Australia’s large Greek community with your next campaign, get in touch with MultiConnexions.