The magnificent traditional Easter in Corfu

'easter @ corfu, greece/ the town's old section' - Corfu
'easter @ corfu, greece/ the town's old section' - Attribution: George Tziralis

Easter in Corfu is the most majestic in Greece. Corfiots live with intensity the Divine Passion of Holy Week, and this intensity is reflected in local customs and traditions. For this reason, during Easter the Island is flooded with visitors. On Palm Sunday, the litany of Saint Spyridon takes place and the relics are taken through the streets of the city, accompanied by the Philharmonic orchestra, which is an integral part of the whole Holy Week.

On Holy Wednesday, the Municipal Choir gives a concert of religious music at the Municipal Theatre, counter-weighing the philharmonic orchestra with polyphonic rather than Byzantine chants. Good Friday is probably the most special day of the Holy Week. The procession of the Epitaph begins at noon with the Epitaph of Panagia Spiliotissa at the New Fortress and the Pantokrator at Kampielo. On the same day, the procession of the epitaph of the Catholic Diocese takes place, as Easter in Corfu is synchronized for Catholics and Orthodox. The most solemn moment of the Holy Week, however, is when the Epitaph of Metropolis is taken from the cave. The Epitaph is accompanied by three philharmonic orchestras, the choir of the Cathedral, secondary and high school children, scouts and the Red Cross with the philharmonic orchestras playing some of the greatest pieces of world music.

Saturday dawns early as at 6am, at the Virgin Mary of Foreigners church (Panagia ton Ksenon) believers hit the pews as a reminder of the earthquake that followed Christ's Resurrection and send the first message of Christ's rising from the dead. Three hours later, the procession of the relics of the Saint takes place, together with the Epitaph of Saint Spyridon, while at 11am, one of the most impressive traditions of Corfu Easter begins. At the Upper Square, people throw 'Botides' from their windows. These are pitches with water, making a loud bang when hitting the ground while at the Pinta, the old commercial center of the town, the custom of 'Mastelas' is being reviced: a barrel with water is decorated and filled with coins of passers-by. At the time of the First Resurrection, someone jumps in and collects the coins.

The ceremony of Christ's Resurrection is celebrated on the square of Agia Paraskevi church with colorful fireworks decorating the sky. On Easter Tuesday the 'basmata' take place, i.e. the re-positioning of St. Spyridon to the urn. Without any doubt Easter in Corfu is a unique experience. A great time to visit!