The role of Greek godparents at Orthodox Easter

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Are you a first time nouna or nouno (godparent) curious about your duties this Orthodox Easter? Don’t worry, The Greek Herald’s got you covered.

In the Orthodox faith, being a godparent comes with the responsibility of ensuring the godchild receives a spiritual upbringing, and ensuring a life-long bond of love, trust, and guidance through religion. The role of a godparent extends beyond a christening and continues right through the godchild’s life.

Lambathes: Photo: Anastasias Kouzina

At Easter time, one of the traditions godparents follow include granting their godchild with a ‘lambatha’ – a special decorated candle made for Easter. They are often decorated with ribbons, icons, jewels, and small toys.

Lambathes. Photo: Dahlia Weddings and Baptisms

The lambathes hold cultural and religious significance and are handed to godchildren as a gift from their godparents, to allow them to receive the light of God at Easter. This takes place at Anastasi (Midnight Mass) on Holy Saturday, where the holy flame is passed through the church as the clock strikes 12.

Although lambathes are often gifted from godparents at young ages, people of all ages are seen holding them on Holy Saturday. They can be purchased across multiple websites, local Greek businesses and at your local Greek Orthodox Church.

After the church service, it is customary that once the flame is brought home with the lambatha, a cross is marked on top of the front door frame of the home, therefore allowing the light of God to bless the home for the year.

Lambathes: Photo: Anastasia Monastery

As well as giving godchildren lambathes, another Easter tradition includes the godparents providing the gift of a new Easter outfit or new shoes to the child. This outfit is gifted to be worn during Holy week for Easter. Most godparents continue bearing gifts up until the child turns 12 years old.

Other gifts that are given to godchildren for Easter include shoes, money, a tsoureki or even a chocolate Easter egg or bunny.

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