Cash-strapped Greeks prepare for easter meal

Added On April 8, 2018

Eight years into the debt crisis, cash-strapped Greeks queue in marketplaces this week, preparing for the Easter meal. 
Greece is expected to exit the bailout programs, which has kept the country afloat since 2010, this summer.
Some shopkeepers and clients expressed hope that this may be the last time that austerity prevent them from celebrating in style. 
For Greek Orthodox Christians, Easter, which falls on April 8 this year, is one of the most important holidays on their calendar. 
Traditionally it is an opportunity to meet relatives and friends and enjoy the special delicacies of the day, sing and dance. 
During years of the debt crisis, consumers learnt to celebrate on limited budget, cutting back on "luxuries". 
According to a survey by Institute of Retail Consumer Goods, a typical Sunday Easter lunch will cost Greek households about 55 euros, which is some 5 percent less this year compared to 2017.
Analysts attributed the lower prices to the good weather which helped keep lower prices of vegetables, and special offers made by supermarkets.
The Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) estimated that a typical Easter meal for 6-8 persons will cost on average 92.7 euros this year, down from 94.4 euros last year. 
SOUNDBITE(Greek): KLEANTHIS TSIRONIS, President, Varvakeios market
"Prices compared to last year are about 20 percent lower. Due to the shortage of money, prices have dropped as low as never before. Greek people are inventive and they will always find a way to serve some meat on the table. Easter is a special festival for Greeks and even the poorest households will cook some lamb. Due to the crisis, the prices have declined, but the quantities Greeks consumed also dropped. Because of the reduced disposable income."
SOUNDBITE(Greek): ANNA, Customer
"We will buy about the same ingredients as last year. As everybody else we get only the minimum necessary. We will spend the holidays at home with our children and grandchildren."
"Of course everything in daily life has become more expensive, not only meat."
For those who will not cook at home, restaurants are preparing a lavish Easter meal trying to keep the prices as low as possible. 
For the Easter holiday, we are preparing traditional meal...The meal may cost about 12-15 euros per person. Our prices are standard. We do not increase them. Although VAT rates have increased we are trying to keep them low so that we can keep our client."