The Wax Rainbows in the Windows of Athens

Local Flavor — By Paige Moore on April 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm

In Athens, the road to Pascha is lined with candle-filled windows. Lambadas are traditional Easter gifts for children to be used on Holy Great Saturday to receive the Holy Light from Jerusalem. The modern lambada is sometimes beautiful, oft-times a tacky amalgam of tulle and Happy Meal toys that appeal to the individual child. You can find them being sold in the supermarket for around €5 or in boutiques and specialty shops for anywhere from €10-€50, the latter being more toy than candle, sometimes with full sized dolls or action figures.

Lambadas dripping from an Easter Tree in a neighborhood shop

They do come in the more somber variety as I found while at an exhibition at the Zappeion Building in the National Gardens. These are hand painted with the phrase “Christos Anesti” meaning “Christ has Risen” and decorated with beads and silver charms. One can find them in kiosks that go up outside of churches as Easter draws near.

 

Easter, Pascha, candles

Lambadas hanging in an exhibition at the Zappeion building

 

The Hellenic Art and Design shop in Plaka didn’t disappoint with their modern-yet-nostalgic take on the Easter candle, made by the shop’s owner and other local designers in Athens.

 

 

 

The owner's design features a hand designed silver charm tied to twin tapers that a girl might use to offer to a boy at the ceremony.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Athens around the time of Easter, the lambada is something special you can pick up, regardless of your religion. One important note now that you’ve reached the end: go back and reread making sure to pronounce the “d” with a “th” as in “the” so as not to confuse the tradition with a Brazilian dance made popular in the ’80’s.

Tags: Candle, Easter, Greek Tradition, Hellenic Art & Design, Lambada, Pascha

    1 Comment

  • Aρης says:

    Beautiful colors — but why “twin tapers that a girl might use to offer to a boy at the ceremony” ? In exchange for….? Do guys offer anything?

    Does this ceremony have pre-Christian roots? –Action figures?? How the heck did that start? : )

    I’ll take one with a sailboat! http://www.etsy.com/listing/65773602/boys-nautical-greek-baptism-christening

    [Hope you don’t mind these questions…fun reading as usual…I’m sure we all look forward to asking Athenians someday. This post was like a National Geographic article in miniature (but more witty, useful, and fun). ]

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