11pm: The call to church. The bells have changed, because they're no longer mourning the death of Christ, and are looking forward to His resurrection.
11:45pm: The Holy Fire is passed candle to candle as a symbol of the light of Christ.
The flame started out in Jerusalem. On Saturday morning, the Patriarch descended into the Holy Sepulchre with some candles. The candles were lit by miracle. When the Patriarch emerged with the flames, he handed the candles off to representatives from various Orthodox countries, including Greece. The flame was flown into Athens, then spread from place to place. By midnight, the Holy Fire will have spread across the entire country.
Midnight: Five seconds before I started filming, the priest yelled, "Χριστὸς ἀνέστη (Khristós Anésti)! The literal meaning is, "Christ is risen!" The people responded with, "Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη (Alithós Anésti)!" or, "Truly, He is risen!" Then the party started.
12:30am: Finally Easter Sunday. The Lenten fast is over, so these people are running home to eat their lamb stew. The less hungry people are going back inside the church. Easter marks the beginning of the liturgical cycle. The people going back into church will be listening to the first liturgy of the new year.
I went to bed shortly after this, so I don't know when church cleared out for good. It was completely dead this morning. So were the streets. Very few people were awake at 9am when my mom, dog, infant, and I went out for a walk. We did smell some roasting lamb. By noon, people were awake and blowing off more fireworks. They sound like bombs.
Aside from the bombs, today and tomorrow should be pretty quiet. People will be feasting with their families today, and sleeping off the gigantic meal tomorrow.
I don't think I'm fully ready to give up the Easter Bunny, but I could definitely see myself appropriating the candles, fireworks, and feasting.
Happy Greek Easter!