NEW YORK – Though this year’s celebration of Easter will certainly not be as festive as most Greeks are used to, there are still ways to enjoy the holiday. Anastasia Baker, event planner, floral designer, and founder of ‘RSVP By Anastasia,’ spoke with The National Herald about entertaining this Easter with traditions of Greece and Cyprus as inspiration.
Baker told TNH, “one of the reasons I decided to include my name, Anastasia, in the name of my business is because of what it represents. The root of the name, Anastasi, literally translating to resurrection, is something that has always been a source for strength for me. In strange, unprecedented times like these, the strength we can all find collectively in solitude, can foster our own resurrection, be it mentally, physically, or creatively.”
She continued, “this solitude begs the question – why decorate? Why bother with our traditions this year? To which I say, why not? Sure, we’ll be in our own dining rooms with our closest few, maybe in suits and dresses, maybe (definitely) in sweats. Why not take this time to create a new tradition or enjoy the ones we have?”
She told TNH, “I’ve compiled some traditions from all over Greece and Cyprus that I thought could be incorporated through decor in a fun and interesting way in your homes. In islands like Corfu and Lefkada, on Easter morning, the streets are filled with the sounds of breaking clay pots. A way to incorporate this tradition in a way your neighbors will like, is to create a floral centerpiece in a clay pot:
- Fish out a clay pot you particularly like at home or order one online. I’ve consistently found amazing pieces at jamaligarden.com and afloral.com.
- Before going on your next supermarket run, eyeball or measure the opening of this vase, (bonus points if you bring it with you) and select flowers at the floral department accordingly. Some varieties in season I enjoy working with are delphinium, ranunculus, freesia, and iris.
- Clean the bottom half of your flowers of any loose greenery if there is any and cut the stems at an angle under running water. The height of your flowers should typically be no more than one and a half to two times the height of a vase.
“A tip to make your flowers last longer,” she says, is “add a couple drops of Raki (or Mastixa or Ouzo or any clear liquor) to your water and always refrigerate at night, ensuring the arrangement is not too close to the walls of the refrigerator.”
Striking a mischievous note, she said: “Two Words: Rocket War. In Chios, Saitopolemos is a tradition that was started as a means to strike fear into the hearts of the Ottomans.”
One way to add a little spark to your decor are these Saitopolemos Sparkly Eggs:
- Use any kind of egg you’d like. Wood, plastic or real, provided they’ve been boiled or hollowed.
- In a small bowl, mix together Mod Podge and glitter. Elmer’s Glue works just as well.
- Dipped Eggs – Create a neat line with washi tape. Dip quickly and let dry in an egg crate, glitter side up. When completely dry, remove the tape.
- Polka dots – dip your finger into the mix and lightly tap your egg.
- Completely covered – With a paint brush, brush on some plain Mod Podge or glue. With the glue still will, put your egg in a small bowl and slowly pour glitter directly onto the egg.
“A chic way to showcase these is by stacking them inside Apothecary Jars, vases or compote dishes. To really drive this aesthetic home, serve your Tsoureki with sparklers for a good laugh,” she said.
“Traditions like these and many more have survived some of the most trying times in Greece and Cyprus’ histories. Let this year’s quiet Anastasi at home be just as beautiful if not more than any other year,” Baker concluded.
More information about Anastasia Baker and her company, RSVP By Anastasia is available online: https://www.rsvpbyanastasia.com.