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Video: How Greek Easter looked … in 1947

400 videos relating to Greece among 85,000 historic British Pathé newsreel films uploaded to YouTube

'Easter in Greece (1947)' is one of the 400 or so British Pathé newsreel films relating to Greece uploaded to YouTube on Thursday

People prepare the epitafios outside Agioi Theodoroi church, near Klathmonos square in central Athens, in 1947 (Screenshot from British Pathé newsreel) People prepare the epitafios outside Agioi Theodoroi church, near Klathmonos square in central Athens, in 1947 (Screenshot from British Pathé newsreel) Very dark black-and-white footage of a Good Friday religious procession in central Athens, shots of soldiers holding wooden spits with roasted lambs outside Haidari barracks, and parishioners at a city central church decorating the epitafios, symbolising Christ’s funeral bier, are among the Easter scenes recorded 67 years ago by newsreel company British Pathé, which on Thursday uploaded 85,000 historic films to YouTube.

The archive of 3,500 hours of footage was digitised in 2002 thanks in part to a grant from the British National Lottery, and is now freely accessible to anyone around the world for free. About 400 videos relating to Greece are among the clips made available, including one entitled “Easter in Greece (1947)”.

Recorded at the height of the civil war, fought between the Allied-backed government in Athens and communist forces, the clip, which was never actually used in a newsreel, also features military and political figures.

The chief of the Greek army general staff, Konstantinos Ventiris, can be seen engaging in the custom of breaking red eggs, as can public order minister, Napoleon Zervas, with officers of the general security police. Also captured in the film are the Evzones, then the guard of the Royal Palace, in their picturesque uniforms, also breaking eggs.

In scenes that can still be seen today, a group of people, mainly women, can be seen preparing the epitafios outside Agioi Theodoroi church, near Klathmonos square in central Athens.

The Greek-related videos cover major political events, famous faces, and is a wealth of information on the first and second world wars and the Greek civil war. Among the earliest clips is one of the funeral of King George I in Thessaloniki, where he was assassinated in 1913.

Founded in Paris in 1896, Pathé launched in Britain 14 years later. It single-handedly invented the modern television news format but ceased recording in 1970. After that it was sold several times, at one point to EMI, but launched as an independent archive in 2009. Two years later it opened a YouTube channel and on Thursday announced the final step in digitising and uploading its entire collection to Google's video sharing platform.

* Starting from next week, EnetEnglish will write about one of British Pathé’s Greece-related videos every day, providing the historical context to each. Stay tuned!

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