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COVID Still Here But Greeks again Celebrating Easter Like Before (Photos)

ATHENS – On the most somber holiday of the year, and when families traditionally gather in their villages and homes, Greeks are rising again during Easter to try to celebrate a near-normal commemoration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus has pulled back enough to allow the first comings-together after being locked out and down in 2020 and 2021, the government lifting most health measures in hopes it won’t bring a resurgence of the virus.

Two women decorate with carnations Jesus’ funeral bier, called “the Epitaph” in Greek, in Agios Georgios church in Myrodafni village, Epirus region, northwestern Greece, on Holy Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

It looked normal, even if it wasn’t, including long lines of vehicles fleeing the cities for the countryside and villages, getting ready to put the lamb on the spit and mark religious and family meanings set aside during the pandemic.

There were waves of travelers on full ferries to islands, toll roads and national roads and side roads heading to mountains spots and the Peloponnese and far-flung parts of the country, buses and planes packed too.

Sophocles Fatsios, President of the Panhellenic Federation of KTEL Drivers who man the buses, told Kathimerini that compared to pre-coronavirus levels, passenger traffic was up 30 to 35 percent at the biggest stops in Athens.

An elderly woman attends a liturgy in Agios Georgios church in Myrodafni village, Epirus region, northwestern Greece, on Holy Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Several routes, such as those heading from Athens to the regional units in the Peloponnese in southern Greece and Epirus in the northwest, showed an increase of up to 50 perent compared to 2019.

There was also major traffic going to the western islands of Zakynthos, and Kefalonia, Thessaly in Central Greece, and the country’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki in the north, with trains there near 100 percent capacity.

It was the same for flights at the international airport and regional airports to areas where planes offer an alternative to driving or buses or trains and flights to Cyprus, England, France and Germany in big demand.

Local residents chant during a liturgy in Agios Georgios church in Myrodafni village, Epirus region, northwestern Greece, on Holy Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A woman with children stands in front of a cross during a liturgy in Agios Georgios church in Myrodafni village, Epirus region, northwestern Greece, on Holy Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A woman decorates with carnations Jesus’ funeral bier, called “the Epitaph” in Greek, in Agios Georgios church in Myrodafni village, Epirus region, northwestern Greece, on Holy Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A woman decorates with carnations Jesus’ funeral bier, called “the Epitaph” in Greek, in Agios Georgios church in Myrodafni village, Epirus region, northwestern Greece, on Holy Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

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