Messolonghi – Orthodox Easter Customs and Traditions
10 – 21 April 2020
Easter in Messolonghi taking in all the religious festivities.
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Holiday Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Fairly Easy
10 – 21 April 2020 (12 day workshop)
Spending Easter in Greece is a must for everyone’s bucket list. It can be a spiritual experience as well as a photogenic one as the locals observe the religious rituals representing the pathos of Christ to his resurrection on Holy Saturday Midnight.
You will explore cities in their finest moments shrouded in candle light. Easter Sunday is the centre piece of the Orthodox celebrations ending with a meat feast, red eggs and lamb on the spear.
- Bed and Breakfast
- Tour guide for entire tour.
- Travel insurance
Arrive in Athens
Arrive in Athens to unwind and settle in. A chance to get to know each other and then a tour of the picturesque centre of Athens taking in famous and photogenic areas such as Plaka, Monastiraki and of course the Acropolis.
Dinner at the hotel.
Exodus of Messolonghi Procession
Early start to Messolonghi in time to shoot the Exodus of Messolonghi Procession.
Lunch with time to relax at then hotel, then dinner and getting to know each other.
A look inside some of the orthodox churches to experience the Palm Sunday festivities.
Fish lunch in the centre of Messolonghi. Special fish dishes to keep you going through the last week of fasting (known as Passion week) until Easter Sunday.
Each night of Passion Week the churches have a series of services known as bride groom services, so we will be exploring and photographing many different churches and monasteries to experience this in full.
Boats and Bikes
In the morning we take a boat trip to explore the lagoons that dominate the landscape and are such an integral part of life here. This is a chance to photograph the incredibly diverse bird life that inhabits the area, and to see the lagoons from the perspective of the fishermen who have worked these waters for countless generations.
Returning to Messolonghi for lunch.
In the afternoon we change our mode of transport renting bicycles to ride out to the island of Tourlida to photograph the traditional wooden fishermen’s houses called pellades which stand on stilts above the surface of the water.
Evening visit to monastery for a bride groom service.
Today we take a drive along a beautiful scenic route that includes the archaeological site at Plevrona. Set on a hill on the northwest side of Messolonghi, a big part of the 3km long walls of ancient Plevrona are still kept in very good condition, specifically, the new ancient Plevrona, known as Castle of Kira Rini (Lady Rini). At this impressive archaeological site you will have the chance to see a huge, natural 6m tall stone tank, part of the market, the ancient road, and a wonderful ancient theatre with panoramic views of the sea to west of Messolonghi.
We will see the island of Aetoliko. This tiny landmass is one of the most densely populated areas of Greece with a maze of ramshackle streets and houses to photograph and plenty of local life.
Afterwards we’ll visit the salt-flats or “alykes”. These are the largest salt-pans in operation in Greece. Salt has played a crucial role in the history of civilisation and in Greece. In ancient Greece it was used as a commodity for trading slaves. It is said that the time held expression of “not worth his salt” came from this practice. In ancient times, most civilisations were accompanied by myths and religious or magic rites involving salt and Greece was no exception. With tales of its usage during sacrifices and religious rituals, the history of salt is as exotic as the amazing alykes, or salt-marsh gardens, that extend for miles in Messolonghi.
After dinner there will be a photo critique session to give everyone a chance to get personalised feedback on their photographic results so far and to set some homework to do too!
Today we embark on a road trip to the traditional village of Katochi where we will admire the banks of the river Acheloos and then head into the wild and rugged landscape of Dioni in far Western Greece. Stopping on the way to visit our friend Christos to get a glimpse into traditional life in a pellades complete with traditional Greek hospitality.
Wednesday is the last supper service.
An early start for sunrise photography at Tourlida.
Free time to recover and have breakfast.
Flamingo photography on the other side of town if we get lucky. Patience is a virtue!
Lunch in town.
Free programme in the afternoon.
Meet at 7 pm at the cathedral to see one of the bride groom services that represents of the crucifixion of Christ.
Church to Church
Workshop on post-production in the morning.
Meet at 12 noon to go from church to church to photograph the epitaphs. Each church competes to be the most beautifully decorated with flowers over night by the young ladies of the town.
Good Friday is traditionally a day for strict fasting to commemorate Christ asking for water when he was on the cross and they gave him vinegar. We, on the other hand may indulge in something a little more substantial!
In the evening we will follow and photograph the procession which is very beautiful and atmospheric and one of the most important of the week’s services with some especially beautiful hymns, commemorations and ceremonials.
After a later start to the morning to recover from the night before, we will be doing a location portrait photography workshop. Taking advantage of the many visually stunning backdrops that Messolonghi has to offer and teaching you about expression, posing, lighting and more.
An afternoon photo critique will give you a chance to reflect on the images you have made so far on the trip and provide direction for future improvement.
We will have a dinner together then you are free until midnight.
Midnight is the resurrection which is very dramatic with fireworks at the church. Everyone goes with a candle and the priest gives you holy light which is very photogenic.
Christ Has Risen!
With lamb cooked on the spit and red painted eggs, you will experience and photograph how Easter is spent the traditional Greek way with the family.
Drive to Athens
Morning to pack up, a leisurely lunch en-route as we travel back to Athens.
Goodbye dinner at the hotel and some free time in Athens for those that want to have a final wander.
Sunset and dinner at the hotel.
Final goodbyes and flights home.
The accommodation is located in an organic olive grove, near the historic city of Messolonghi, perched on the slope of a hill and surrounded by the verdant mountainsides of Arakynthos, enjoying a wonderful panoramic view. The hotel features a traditional taverna, outdoor bar, pool, space and sports equipment (basketball, volleyball, table tennis, archery, cycling).
This place offers you the chance to escape the chaos of the city in a tranquil natural environment. You will have plenty of time to relax and unwind but also time to do things together, to experience adventure, fun and entertainment.
There will be a fair amount of easy hiking and you will need to be able to get up hills, flights of stairs, and be ok with a certain level of heat. If you are carrying a camera bag full of equipment you will need to be ok with having this on your back for several hours at a time.
A camera is the obvious one, but also a tripod is a must. Having spare batteries and memory cards is also strongly advised.
No, you have to make your own way to the destination, but wherever possible we will meet you at the airport in Greece.
Yes. We always ensure you will be staying at the best accommodation possible in the area. This means it will be clean and well presented, although in the more remote locations may not be as fancy as in the cities.
All levels are welcome, from the novice to the seasoned professional.