5 Customs you can experience in Greece during Easter
During Easter, events and Christian customs take place to celebrate Easter, the most important celebration of Christianity all over Greece. Have you wondered how it is celebrated in different regions of Greece? There are some very special customs that you will meet in different parts of the country. In this post I stand out a few and present them to you.
The celebration take place this year on Sunday 8th of April.
These are the clay pots that hit on the feet of those who walk in the pedestrian streets of the Old Town of Corfu on the morning of Holy Saturday. Don’t worry you should be safe as the road is closed during this custom. This custom marks the Resurrection of Christ at the “Church of Foreigners”. By throwing clay pots on the streets they resemble the earthquake that took place according to the Bible in the tomb of Jesus after he was crucified. Then the Philharmonic orchestra of the island circulates in the city playing merry marching. If you want to experience it, book your room in the center of the town to see it.
Ceremony of the Sanctuary, Patmos
The sacred washbasin ceremony is a religious custom and is the representation of the act of Jesus before the Last Supper where Christ took a bowl of water and washed the feet of his disciples. The representation takes place at midday on Thursday, at Xanthos Square, in front of the Town Hall. The role of the 12 Apostles is perform by monks or clergy and the role of Christ, the abbot of the Theologian Monastery, while the role of the Evangelist is a clergyman. The representation takes place in a strictly monastic climate with Apostle Peter and Judas as “protagonists” until the abbot symbolically launches the monks’ feet with water. Then the procession returns to the Monastery.
Rocket War, Chios
This custom is an old custom, which has its roots in the era of Ottoman occupation in the island and nobody is really sure when and why it started exactly.. The inhabitants of the churches of Saint Mark and Virgin Mary of Erethiani, two churches facing each other, throw rockets one another creating a really impressive spectacle. The target is to hit the top side of the opposing church with the rockets and both churches will claim to be the winners no matter what happens. Which essentially gets them ready for the next year.The rocket war is a special custom in Chios, and the preparation of rockets begins immediately after Easter to be ready next year. A “War” worthy of admiration, you need to be early in the early and in a good spot to enjoy it. Be careful, though not to get into the way.
The balloons of the Resurrection, Leonidio
A totally impressive custom takes place in Leonidio, Arcadia, immediately after the Resurrection. The residents build small, colorful balloons that fly in the sky immediately after the “Christ’s resurrection” on holly saturday . The predominant theory of the origin for this custom says it came from local sailors who were impressed by a similar custom that they saw in an Asian country and then transported it to their homeland. The first testimony of the custom comes from 1910. In any case, until today, more than a century later, the balloons of the Resurrection continue to be one of the most impressive resurrected customs in Greece.
“Bouloukia” in Kalamata
The contest of “bouloukia” in the city of Kalamata in Southern Greece comes from the independence war of Greece against the Ottoman empire in 1821. People at that time were making the “bouloukia” or “saites” as they are calling them and throwing them to the Ottomans so they can get scared and leave from the city. Nowadays, it has become a contest. The contestants with their self made small flares (paper made pipes with gunpowder) compete in the local football stadium with hundreds of tourists around them observing the custom. For that people start making the bouloukia days and days earlier getting ready for the big day.
Even if some injuries have been noted in the past it has been quite popular.
No matter what place you choose, you will find something really interesting for yourself during Easter time.