As one of the four countries with official Orthodox Christian religion, Greece continues to celebrate Easter with devotion, reverence and by maintaining the traditional customs associated with it. Nevertheless, the people’s belief in God and in the Christian narrative has decreased significantly compared to ten years ago.
As recorded in the longitudinal Kapa Research survey on Easter, Faith and Religion in Greece, 85.5% of Greek citizens believe that Easter helps maintain Greek tradition. Religious devotion and reverence continue to describe their feelings during the Holy Week. As for Easter celebrations, over six out of ten go to the Resurrection and the Epitaph ceremonies, paint red eggs, roast lamb and make “mageiritsa” soup, while 42.5% say they fast throughout Holy Week.
On the other hand, the poor financial situation of households in relation to the past seems to significantly affect the decision on the place and the way of celebrating Easter today. Specifically, while in 2006 and 2008 most people chose to celebrate it in their place of origin (around 41%), the place they live in is now first choice for the majority of Greeks (56%) and rises noticeably compared to 2008 (38%). Still, of those who believe that the way they celebrate Easter has changed in relation to their childhood (51.3%), most state economic shortage as the main cause of change (20.4%), which was their last choice in 2008 (9.9%) when Easter seemed changed compared to the past due to its commercialization (25.9%) or because human communication was lost (22.3%).
Compared to citizens of other first-world countries, Greeks demonstrate high levels of faith and religious conscience. 81.4% consider themselves Orthodox Christians, while more than seven out of ten declare their faith in God. Furthermore, acceptance rates of certain narratives of Christianity, such as the existence of Satan (43.8%), miracles (41.4%), afterlife (37.4%), the Second Coming (31.8%) and the existence of heaven and hell (30.2%), seem high at first sight. Similarly, nearly 6 out of 10 Greeks believe that religion has great value for people, while more than half describe themselves as religious. With regard to religious habits, 55.8% tend to cross themselves when passing a church (always, sometimes or rarely), one in four pray daily and regardless of whether they have problems or not (64.8%), while 16.7% say that they go to church at least once a month.
However, compared with ten years ago, faith and religious habits of Greeks seem to be on the decline. Specifically, the percentage of those declaring themselves as Orthodox Christian in 2006 was significantly higher than today (96.9%), while a significant increase seems to be taking place in the share of those who are Atheists (14.7% from just 2% in 2006). Also, faith in God is has fallen by 17.5 percentage points compared to 2005. Furthermore, the shares of those who think that religion has great value for people and of those describing themselves as religious have decreased in comparison with the past by more than thirty percentage points. As a result, religious habits also show significant decrease, such as daily prayer (24.4% now 54.2% in 2006) and regular church attendance (16.7% now 47.3% in 2006).