Religion and church attendance are very important to many Greek elders. Helping your client attend church services is likely to be one of the most meaningful activities you can provide. Attending church on major religious feast days and saints’ days is especially valued.
Listening to Liturgy
If your client can’t attend church services you can tune into a radio broadcast of the church liturgy on Greek radio station 3XY (1422 AM). The liturgy can be heard at 8:00 am every Sunday.
For the devout prayer is a powerful and important part of the day. People pray in a quite space before a religious icon, normally in isolation from others, early in the morning and before bed in the evening. If your client prays, it is important to show respect for the time and space used for praying: do not interrupt prayers and ensure that noise levels are kept to a minimum.
Easter is the most prominent occasion in the Greek religious calendar. Activities associated with this period are very significant and are observed by most Greek elders. Activities include the dyeing of eggs, fasting, receiving communion, attending church, preparing particular foods and participating in celebrations with family and friends. For more information see the section on Greek Easter.
Easter provides many opportunities for enjoyable and meaningful activities with elders.
Dyeing Easter Eggs
This is an excellent activity for a group or an individual.
Ingredients: one dozen eggs, water, ¾ cup vinegar, red food/egg dye (available from Greek delicatessens), vegetable oil and a cotton cloth
Preparation: Carefully wash and dry each egg. Put a large pot of water on to boil. When boiling, add the dye and vinegar. Allow to boil for a few minutes longer. Slowly lower the eggs into the water. When it comes to the boil again, lower the heat. Let the eggs simmer for 15 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pot. (If you plan to cook more eggs, add another 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water.) Wipe the cooked eggs with a cotton cloth dampened with vegetable oil, then wipe each egg with a clean dry cloth. Place on a platter. Serve after midnight mass on Easter Saturday.
Greek Easter Bread
Ingredients: 1 kg flour, 1 cup of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons grated orange rind, 6 eggs (beaten), 1½ cups sugar, ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons yeast, ½ cup lukewarm water
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add a cup of flour and beat. Cover the mixture with a towel and place it in a warm place to rise. Slightly heat the milk, sugar, butter and orange rind, then pour them into a bowl.
Add the yeast, eggs and flour, stirring constantly. Make sure the dough is neither too soft nor too tough. Cover it with a towel and let it stand in a warm place for about an hour and a half.
When the dough has doubled in size, knead it again and shape into plaited loaves. Brush with 2-3 beaten egg yolks and bake in a medium oven for about 30-35 minutes.
Attending Evening Mass
Attending evening mass in Easter Holy Week is very important for many Greek elders. Evening mass is held every weeknight during Holy Week. Each Mass has a special focus and particular religious significance. Ask your client if they are interested in attending evening mass and assist them with transport to the nearest parish. Use the Directory of Greek Services to locate your closest parish.