First, here’s a video I’ve posted before. This is at an OCA church here in America (Birmingham, AL – St. Symeon’s) and the service is Holy Saturday Liturgy, the first Liturgy of the Resurrection. This video was taken during the hymn, “Arise O God”. Bay leaves are thrown. Everywhere. It’s so joyous, just watch it again. (:
Now, this is the video from the Greek church. The chanter is chanting “Arise O God” too and bay leaves are also thrown. However, it’s what happens after the bay leaves are all out and the priests return to the altar that was so surprising.
Did you see that? (Or more to the point, did you hear that?) Now, I tried looking it up online and found surprisingly little by way of explanation. Father and I had a few good guesses but I’m waiting on my Greek friends (Hi!) to provide a full accounting. I feel like we’re so “vanilla” in this country in comparison to the Greeks. Their motto ought to be, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” Love it.
(By the way, this video from the same church when they bring out the epitaphios is amazing as well. We’d never seen blossoms thrown onto the epitaphios by the gathered people…and then misted of all things. That explains why it was covered with clear plastic. I at first had attributed it to the fact that the Greeks always cover everything with clear plastic, lol.)