The Greek Easter Egg Riots

No, this is not about the eggs angry Greeks are throwing at politicians nowadays, but about a colorful tradition practiced during Easter.

Greeks traditionally dye their Easter eggs on the Thursday before Easter. For the most part you will not see pastel colored eggs piled in cute little baskets, Greeks are a bit hardcore when it comes to Easter eggs; they like them deep red.

As with other cultures, red eggs are an old tradition, for Greeks, the red color symbolizes the blood of Christ. Eggs were all dyed together in a big pot, and then shined with olive oil. Today people may use other colors, but red continues to be the predominant color, and if you are short on time, you can even find pre-colored red eggs at the super market, red of course…

Once Easter arrived you obviously were allowed to eat the Easter eggs, but also smash other people’s eggs and see if they would break. That’s right, it’s called tsougrisma, which means cracking or clashing. That was the fun part of Easter; you basically chose an egg and hit the egg of the person sitting next to you, if your egg didn’t break you were the winner, and you could continue with your victorious uncracked egg around the table, with the hopes of keeping your egg intact.

I remember some family member always having a fake wooden egg dyed the same color as the real eggs that would never break (kind of defeats the purpose though)-not fun. Apart from being a game, the cracking of the egg symbolizes the cracking of the tomb of Christ.

Eggs were peeled, cut and served with salt and vinegar. My grandmother would make a little meze (small appetizer) with the leftover eggs for guests who would visit the following days; she would cut an egg, some tomato and some leftover cold lamb, and serve it with wine or ouzo.

Photo Credit (Photo #1): Easter Eggs by ccarlstead

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  1. In my house, the winner had to take home all the eggs! (Although the smart ones would conveniently “forget” them, so we ate pink egg salad sandwiches all the next week). 🙂

  2. Hi there. Great little story and congrats on your lovely blog.
    Just wanted to share a little story with you about red Easter eggs; one of my best friends is from Albania and I went to stay with her and her parents a few year back. Her family are Orthodox and also have the red egg tradition. Her father told me how under the Communist regime it was illegal to practice such traditions. They made their red eggs in secret and made sure to bury the shells far away from their homes in fear of being caught.
    Anyway, have a great day from on Mediterranean food lover to another x

  3. kirk geronimos says:

    Hi Elena,
    Great little story. You taught me something new today.

    Kirk Geronimos