Easter is celebrated throughout the Republic of Cyprus and is considered to be the most important religious holiday of the year. Unlike other holidays, Easter is not on a set date every year, and this is set according to the Orthodox Calendar which places the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs at the spring equinox as Easter Sunday. Although there are church services for the whole week before Easter, public holidays are observed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. In days gone by most of the Orthodox population would fast for up to 50 days before Easter. Nowadays most families are known to fast for a week by not consuming any meat or dairy products before the Easter Sunday celebrations. The holy week usually sees most household preparing the traditional ‘flaounes’ which are unique to Cyprus. These are delicious bread pastries filled with an aromatic mix of cheese and mint which are sometimes baked in traditional outdoor wood ovens. The preferred sweet pastries are ‘tsourekia’, a rich leavened pastry which is formed into a plaited loaf and sprinkled with slithered almonds and baked until golden. Another tradition is the painting of boiled eggs in red which symbolises the blood of Christ. These are made during the week and eaten on Easter Sunday after a competition to see who has chosen the strongest egg.