Easter in Mykonos

Easterscape in Mykonos

Most travelers believe that there is no better time to visit the Greek islands than in the summertime. This is mostly true as the sea is incredibly blue and the sun shines every day, and the beautiful, golden beaches get full of happy people who spend long hours sunbathing, swimming, or dancing at some of the funkiest beach-bars of the Mediterranean, having the time of their lives. Yes, there are no better summer holidays than those spent on an amazing Greek island like Mykonos!

Except if you plan to visit Greece during Easter. With the “real” summer usually starting about a month later (the exact dates vary, as the orthodox Easter is a mobile feast), the sea will already be incredibly blue, and the sun will be shining every day, and the beautiful, golden beaches will be opening to welcome the first dedicated swimmers. It may be a little bit chilly after sundown, and there is no way to totally exclude the possibility of some light rain — but normally the weather will be great and the surrounding nature will dazzle you with its rich flora, that will eventually surrender to the summer dryness.

Most of all, Greek Easter is a one-week mystery tour around the march of Jesus through His tortures, crucifixion, and resurrection. To be precise, Greek Orthodox Easter is the most important celebration in the church’s calendar. The festivities start 40 days before Easter Sunday, on the first Saturday after Clean Monday. Priests from Panagia Tourliani Monastery in Ano Mera, in the island’s mainland, carry a holy icon from the Monastery on a 8km walk to Chora, the main town of Mykonos. Children accompany the ritual holding wreaths made from palm leaves. Five weeks later, on Lazarus Saturday, the icon is carried back to Ano Mera and on that day the local bakeries throughout Mykonos prepare prepare lazarakia, a dough model representing Lazarus who raised from the grave, with his eyes made from gillyflowers, sugar and raisins. They also bake the lambrokouloures, a sweet local bread adorned with red eggs, that symbolize the blood of Christ. As the Holy Week continues, the bakeries produce more special bread, as food is a very important part of the celebrations.

On Good Friday —which is usually and oddly a rather cloudy day— Mykonos turns solemn, as women beautifully decorate the grave of Jesus with flowers. Late in the evening, this “epitaph” is carried through the villages with worshippers following and chanting, holding lit candles. On the night of Holy Saturday the mood radically changes and locals gather outside the churches just before midnight to celebrate the resurrection of Christ in an unforgettable ceremony. Then, people return to their homes carrying candles to enjoy a traditional meal, featuring a soup called mageiritsa made from vegetables and the boiled parts of a lamb. The night usually ends with a big, long party!

Easter Sunday is an extraordinary display of the Greek hospitality, as family members feast and celebrate with their loved ones. A lamb is roasted on a spit over a barbecue, together with a variety of amazing delicacies including salads, kopanisti spicy cheese, potatoes and Mykonian sausages, together with the famous red eggs.

Blending the traditional with the contemporary, the Greek Easter on the islands is a most exciting experience that will grant you an unforgettable stay!

Lux-scaping in Mykonos

Lux-scaping in Mykonos

Right after a week of heavy snowfall in early February —not a common phenomenon in Greece— followed by a sunny yet cold St. Valentine’s Day, the weather “retrieved” its usual habits, by rewarding the residents of this beautiful country with lots of sunshine and temperatures rising to 20 degrees Celsius! As locals say, it smelled like spring: people started enjoying outdoor coffee breaks and the most daring ones went to the beach for a swim.

As usual, Clean Monday on the 27th of the month will be the first official pre-summer holiday long weekend. News reports advise weekenders to book early, as many destinations are already sold-out. Depending on the weather, many Greeks will choose to enjoy the last snow on the mountains in the few ski resorts of the country. Others will be traveling to their homelands —or islands— to celebrate this holy day by flying colorful kites and taste special menus that consist of black beans and green salads, fresh seafood like octopus and shrimp, olives, spinach pies and other delicacies that mark the beginning of the 40-day fasting period (“Sarakosti”). While the younger generations rarely follow this orthodox ritual that doesn’t allow meat and dairies until the Easter Day, there are still those who fast during the whole period and especially the last week, by eating only olives, bread and legumes, in order to stay “clean”.

The time of the year to book your first luxury escapes to Mykonos is getting closer! Most beach bars and fancy night clubs won’t be opening until April, so you’d better get your tickets now and get ready to treat yourself to a well-deserved luxury accommodation in a private villa, exquisite food, great music, endless dancing, and, of course, the unique opportunity to sunbathe or even swim in some of the still empty, most fascinating golden sand beaches in the world.

With the island still being quiet yet vivid and super guest-friendly as always, you will have Mykonos almost to yourself and receive a “royal” treatment that will be hard to forget for the rest of your life!

Winter in Mykonos

Winter in Mykonos. Where did everybody go?

Spending Christmas holidays on such an exceptionally cosmopolitan and beautiful island like Mykonos can be a fascinating experience — in many ways. With the weather often being mild till long after the end of November, there can be beautiful sunny days with dazzling blue skies and calm seas with glittering water, that call for a swim.

Back in the Town of Mykonos, many of the cafés, bars and restaurants are still open, with most of them making already preparations for Xmas, as if there is some huge celebration coming, like the notorious night long summer parties. According to the custom, instead of trees, residents decorate small boats, whose colorful lights flash behind the window panes of the houses and the shops.

And just as you expect the narrow alleys to be filled with crowds of people celebrating, singing, and dancing until the morning, suddenly there is nobody there! Shops close, lights go down and the locals board the ships that depart one after the other for Athens. Some of them will be visiting relatives and friends all over the country, while the majority will fly to top world destinations in Europe, Asia, Middle East or the USA. Needless to say that, after the summer frenzy, this is the only time of the year when they can take a break to relax and update their hospitality skills.

Because ever since the ’50s, when fishermen and owners of the humble taverns in Mykonos started welcoming VIP travelers who were exploring the Aegean Sea on board their private yachts, the locals got used to listening to them talking about tourist paradises like Cannes, Monaco, and other emblematic world destinations. Little by little they started learning foreign languages, getting familiar with more “elegant” attitudes, and applying this valuable knowhow to their everyday lives with the purpose to make Mykonos one of the most desired destinations in the world – which they did.

So, this is where Mykonians go every Christmas: to get new ideas and create new sensational experiences for their summer visitors who know that holidaying in Mykonos can surpass even the wildest imagination!