Easter in Istanbul: Symbols and Meanings of Easter

It is Easter time, and Easter muffins and sweets started to take their place in the historical bakeries of Istanbul.

Easter is the oldest and most important holiday in Christianity. Christ’s resurrection is celebrated after being crucified. Although there are differences between the eastern and western churches, the Easter period is approximately the period from the end of March to the end of April. Easter Day, which does not take place every year on a fixed date and is celebrated on Sunday in most of the world churches, is also called the the Resurrection Sunday or the Resurrection Day.

Armenians living in Turkey, Greeks and Assyrians, tableware under the influence of Anatolian culture, dining and maintains a tradition of giving importance residency. Therefore, Easter, besides being a religious holiday, also hosts and keeps Anatolian traditions alive. The ritual begins early in the churches on Easter morning, and the society comes together and feasts on this occasion. After the ritual, families come together and the tables are prepared. At the same time, neighbors are offered eggs, buns and rice pudding.

Symbols and Meanings of Easter

The dates when Easter is celebrated are generally the names of Pagan gods Babylonian Ishtar; at the same time as the dates that brought abundance and awakening to nature. Therefore, Easter has become synonymous with spring, re-awakening and nature.

It is possible to see the effects of this belief in the symbols of Easter. Usually in decorations, chocolate and rabbit are used as a symbol of fertility. The reason for not eating meat in the 50-day diet is to respect nature and this period when animals are fertile. The egg has both religious and mythological meanings: An egg painted in red represents the blood of Jesus and is believed to be the symbol of rebirth.

It is an important tradition to have Easter buns, which are identified with the Easter holiday, on the festive tables. This buns, which is drop gummy, chocolate, open to different tastes and in the form of knitting, is made by many people, especially Armenians from Istanbul. The best of the bun is manifested by its smell rather than taste and appearance. If the smell of donuts has surrounded homes or neighborhoods, it is Easter time.


In the Catholic Churches, a new fire is blessed on Easter night, and the Easter candle is lit; Chapters from the Bible are read and baptism ceremonies are held. In the early days of Christianity, baptism ceremonies were held only once a year on the day of Easter.

In Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, a ritual procession is held outside the church before the night rites. No light is lit when the regiment leaves the church; On the return, hundreds of candles are lit to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus.


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