ATHENS – As Greeks celebrated Easter and the resurrection of Christ in 2022, they looked to have their lives rise again and remember those lost during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, sensing hope again.
The New Democracy government had already eased health measures enough to let people travel to their villages and islands for the first time in three years and they flocked there, filling cars, buses, trains, planes and ferries.
The pent-up demand to travel again burst over with the numbers leaving the cities 15 percent higher than in 2019 before the pandemic struck and the biggest since 2013, showing the desire to put the horror behind and look to heaven again.
It was a time too for the politicians to give their annual messages, the grimness of 2020 and 2021 being shed in favor of looking toward near normal lives again even if the Coronavirus may never go away.
President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, speaking at an event in Thrace, in northeastern Greece, as part of a tour along the path taken by thousands of Greeks fleeing Turkey during the Asia Minor Catastrophe marked how important the day is.
“In the few days I have spent in Thrace following the refugee trail etched 100 years ago, I had a vivid experience of the place and the people. I encountered the past, which remains very much alive in the hearts of its residents, and felt the wounds left by war, immigration and leaving the countryside behind. And I also had the pleasure to see a very promising tomorrow emerging thanks to the Thracians’ indomitable will and diligence,” she said, reported Kathimerini.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted his wishes the day before, saying that Greeks are “united in these sacred days of faith and hope,” looking forward to the “spring for the country and for every household,” although there is deep division politically over the pandemic and economy.
Delivering a political message as well during the most religious of days, he said that the Joy 0f Easter “is an ally in our own difficulties, foremost among which is rising prices, against which the state is doing and will continue doing everything it can for as long as necessary. This I promise.”
That was in reference to jumping inflation and soaring energy prices hitting Greeks hard in the pocketbook, holding down spending just as he’s trying to accelerate an economic comeback.
Major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that there was reason for hope “for a better tomorrow” stressing that “Easter 2022 will symbolize a “new beginning” for Greece.