Kalo Pascha (Greek for Happy Easter) to all of my Orthodox friends and family, who celebrate Easter today. Because the Orthodox religion goes by the Julian Calendar (commonly called the “old calendar”), we often celebrate Easter later. Sometimes a week later, sometimes an entire month later, depending on the “algorithm” for the year (I love the word algorithm, by the way. I had a photography instructor who used it all the time when referring to Photoshop and have been smitten ever since!)
Anyhoo…this time of year is very much immersed in tradition for me. As a kid, it was an incredibly special time. My family was not terribly religious, but our Greek heritage was always at the forefront of every holiday. I remember dying Easter eggs, watching my Grandmother make “Kouloures”, or Greek Easter Bread, the many trips to church during Holy Week, and of course our annual lamb roast on Easter Sunday. I spent 20 years as a vegetarian, most likely due to what I witnessed in the kitchen on Easter mornings (I will spare you the details, but if you’re Greek and you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m referring to.) Although I’m not as strict of a vegetarian as I once was, I can guarantee that I will never touch lamb again. Ever.
This year we tried making our own Easter egg dyes, which is how they still dye their eggs on the island in Greece. My dad’s lady friend, Maria lectured told me about it recently and I decided to give it a shot. We had so much fun choosing flowers, veggies, and fruits and boiling them to make the desired colors. I’m realizing that there is a small learning curve with this, but overall it was a great success…and so much fun.
Here he is doing some dying:
Here’s our “algorithm” for natural, hand-made dyes:
Yellow= sour grass flowers (stems included)
Purple: cabbage and onion skins
Orange: yellow beets, carrots, red beets
Pink: red beets
Blue: blueberries (I do admit to augmenting this one with a tiny dot of blue food coloring as it was more purple than I’d hoped…please do not tell my son, though)
We collected jars for a few months in advance so that we had storage for the mixtures. We boiled these with two cups of water, then added about 2 tablespoons of vinegar to each mixture, doing one color per day as the entire process is quite labor intensive for a 4 year old. A few of the dyes required overnight soaks, but the colors ended up being gorgeous-definitely not your typical Paas Easter egg colors. I will try to photograph a few before they get gobbled up…
Happy Easter, Happy Sunday, Happy Week to you all!