Donousa is one of the five most important islands of the minor Cyclades complex. The permanent residents are no more than 120, while the cat population in the island is almost double that size.
Even though Donousa is a very popular summer destination due to its turquoise waters, I would also suggest that it is a whole different experience if you visit it during the Easter period. During the Holy Week (or the Passion Week), almost every person on this island gathers in the churches for Mass. On Good Friday everyone follows the procession of the bier of Christ, or otherwise known as the Epitaph.
On Holy Saturday, the locals participate in a traditional custom, called Fourni. That’s when the locals gather in homes that have wood stoves and knead the dough needed to create bread, called Pavli. There is a distinct and familiar smell of burning wood that fills the atmosphere, emanating from all the wood stoves.
The cooperation, the smiles and a lot of effort are the ingredients that bring the successful result to life. Whoever witnesses this tradition is bound to have sweet reminders of this place for the rest of their lives.
Later on, the people all gather in churches to receive the Holy Light. During the Resurrection, the night sky of Donousa is lit by fireworks, mesmerizing everyone in the audience.
Following the Cycladian tradition, after baking the homemade bread, the people follow that up by roasting meat in the same ovens on the evening of Holy Saturday, so the food can be ready for Easter Sunday.
The highlight of the Holy Week ceremonies is the Burning of Judas, which, once again, is witnessed by everyone in the island.
The grand finale of the festivities commences with a massive feast that goes on until the early hours of the following morning, offering a dose of yearning and anticipation for the coming year.