Things were jumping at Captain Pete’s last Sunday — it was Greek Easter and, like every year, owners Peter and Helen Charuhas made it a day to remember.
The Charuhas family moved to Fenwick Island seven years ago, and opened Captain Pete’s. Peter “Captain Pete” Charuhas admitted the title was mostly a bit of nostalgia from his sport fishing days off Point Lookout, Md. — he said he was really more of a hospitality man than a longshoreman. As he pointed out, there’s plenty of sailing around the Peloponnese, but tourism’s the main industry.
And, like here, Charuhas said many young men and women in Greece picked up bartending and serving jobs while taking classes during the daytime.
For his part, he said he’d worked his way up through the ranks, from busboy, bartender and waiter. He met Helen while managing a little hotel in Ocean City some years back, and when they saw the opportunity to open their own hospitality venue in Fenwick Island, they took it.
Charuhas found plenty of folks with Greek bloodlines in the neighborhood, and even a Greek Orthodox Church (Christ the Savior).
For Greek Orthodox Christians, Greek Easter, or Pascha — the eternal Passover from death to life, earth to heaven — is a very big deal.
“This is our biggest holiday of the year — bigger than Christmas,” Charuhas pointed out. As his wife added, “This is the day we all wait for. Our whole religion is based on it.” She made an analogy based in Judaism — not everyone goes to “shul” (synagogue), but everybody celebrates Passover, she said.
Greek Orthodox Christians dedicate every Sunday to the resurrection of the Lord, and especially 50 days before, and 50 days after, Greek Easter.
The day itself is considered the Feast of Feasts. They dye Easter eggs, but stick to one color — red, signifying the Blood of Christ — and hold a traditional outdoor lamb roast.
Charuhas and company had three whole lamb going simultaneously on May 1, with some good-natured scolding taking place as partygoers stole loose pieces of meat from the turning spit.
He pointed out the other Greek delicacies cooking over the coals — leftover bits (let’s leave it at that) become kokoretsi, roasted to a crackling brown. Similar odds and ends go into the magiritsa (soup).
Charuhas was looking forward to the dancing that traditionally accompanies the Greek Easter celebration, later in the evening. He said dancers whirled in groups, holding hands to form a circle, although individuals and couples sometimes just got up to do their own thing, and shouts of “Opa!” punctuated the merrymaking.
(Apparently, there’s no literal translation — it’s just something Greeks shout when they’re out with friends, having a good time.) For this crowd, there’s no better time to celebrate than Greek Easter, and as usual, the Charuhas family and friends did their best to guarantee a splendid time for all.