This ecard has popped up in my Facebook news feed a few times this week. It made me stop and laugh because there is some truth in the joke…
This funny little quote has inspired me to write a blog post about fashion and what to wear to Church for Greek Easter. Please share your own fashion tip in the comments section at the end of this article or on our Facebook page.
You get told about all the rules from a very young age. There are certain expectations for what you can and can not wear to Church. If Yiayia doesn’t like what you are wearing, then you might not be able to leave the house until you find something more appropriate! Boys get it a little easier. The boys just need to wear a suit, shirt and a tie and they can get away with almost anything. However us girls have a much harder task when it comes to deciding on our Church outfit.
Your Church Wardrobe
Deciding what to wear to Church can be a really hard decision to make. In my opinion, this is why Holy Week at Church is often labelled the Fashion Parade or Greek Fashion Week. We have to put so much thought in to out outfits to make sure that it is appropriate and respectful.
Women are expected to wear skirts and stockings. You can’t show too much skin and you need to cover your shoulders. You can’t look like you’re going out to a nightclub but at the same time you don’t want to look too corporate. You don’t want to wear something that you have already worn to another big event like a wedding or christening (because people will remember) and you can’t wear last years Church outfit either.
God Doesn’t Care About Your Outfit:
Some people will probably think that I am being a bit superficial in this blog post. Surely your outfit will make no difference to God, right? The purpose of going to Church should be purely spiritual. It is about you and your own personal connection to your Faith. It has nothing to do with what you are wearing or how you look. Whilst I wholeheartedly believe in this truth, I also know that it is a very common conversation amongst Greek women around the world. Shopping for a new Church outfit at Easter time has become a tradition just like dyeing red eggs or making Easter Candles. What you wear to Church is an important topic to think about. My experience over the years have taught me a few lessons… here are my top ten tips for what to wear to Church for Greek Easter:
Top ten tips for what to wear to Church for Greek Easter:
Tip 1. Wear Flat Shoes or Wedges!!
I love high heels! I wear them all day every day. However I can not wear them to Church. Standing still in one place for hours at a time is really painful for your feet and your back. Opt for flat shoes or wedges. Or if you must wear high heels with your outfit, make sure that they are not brand new. Wear them in and get some cushions for the balls of your feet.
Tip 2: Wear a Dress or a Skirt
This rule always gets me a bit angry. I believe that it is a bit old fashioned and sexist. However, I recently asked the Priest about the meaning behind this rule. The Priest told me to the part in the Holy Gospel that says ” women should not dress like men and men should not dress like women”. There are some Priest who understand that women can wear pants and still look like women. Slowly the trends are changing but out of respect for the oldies, it is probably best to wear a dress or a skirt.
Tip 3: Take a Jacket, Cardi or Shawl
Church at Easter time will be late at night. Depending on where you are in the world it can get very cool at night. Take a jacket, cardi or shawl to keep you warm.
Tip 4: Watch Your Lipstick
There is nothing worse than kissing an Icon that is covered in lipstick marks. It is also highly disrespectful. Remember that you will be doing a lot of kissing at Church so be sure to wear a lipstick that does not rub off or nothing at all.
Tip 5: Remember To Take Coins and Money
Remember to take some money with you for the donation box. You might also like to buy an Easter candle from the Church or some of the food from the surrounding stalls. I haven’t seen it in my local Church, but when I was travelling in London at Easter time, there were people selling tsoureki out from the back of cars. It was a very interesting experience.
Tip 6: Buy Your Easter Candle Early
Many Godparents and parents purchase Easter candles for their children as gifts. If you are looking for a special design then be sure to organise this well in advance before Easter. We started selling Easter candles on the Greek Wedding Shop from as early as 2 months before Easter. Many people will also create/design their own Easter candle. This year, I designed some candles for adults that are a little more ‘fashionable’. I call them ‘The Mavri Collection’. If you would like one of these candles for next year then please let me know.
Tip 7: Don’t Wear Anything Flammable
Without fail every year I see someone burn a hole in their clothes. During the Saturday night service at Anastaci everyone holds the light of Christ on their Easter candle. Hundreds of burning flames are all around you so make sure that you are not wearing anything highly flammable. If you have decided to wear your favourite Chanel suit then be very, very careful!
Tip 8: Wear Black on Friday and a Colour on Saturday
Holy Friday is the day of Christ’s passion, death and burial. It is symbolic to a funeral and it follows the darkness from Holy Thursday. For this reason, it is more appropriate to wear black or dark colours on the Friday night to Church, just as you would if you were attending a funeral. Holy Saturday is the day of Christ’s resurrection. It is a celebration and it is considered appropriate to wear a brighter colour. The colours purple and red are often related to Easter time for symbolic reasons.
Tip 9: Take Your English Translation of Holy Week Book
The Greek Orthodox Priests speak and chant in Greek, so I have no idea what they are saying throughout Holy Week. The Palmos Press English Translation Book offers a guide to each of the days throughout Holy day. It translates everything that is being said in to English and it tells you when to sit and stand. It is very helpful and I will definitely be taking mind to Church this year.
Tip 10: Ipad and Kindle
I am yet to find an English Translation ebook available to download on Ipad or kindle. If you know of any, then please share the link with me! Hopefully the team at Palmos Press will make their Holy Week English Translation book available in a digital format one day soon. In the mean time, I will continue to use the hard copy verision as well as Vassilios Papavassiliou’s ebook: Meditations for Holy Week. Available online from Ancient Faith Publishing this ebook offers a great explanation and interpretation of Holy Week. I will be downloading this to my ipad (via the kindle ap) this year.
Do you have any fashion tips for Greek Easter?
Please share your comments