The unique 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 one of the most majestic events in Greece. Corfiots experience the Divine Passion of Holy Week with great intensity, which 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 Saint's relics are taken around the streets of the city, accompanied by the Philharmonic orchestra, which is an integral part of the entire 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 well, as Easter in Corfu is celebrated by the Catholic and Orthodox Church at the same time. 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, junior and high school children, scouts and the Red Cross with the philharmonic orchestras playing some of the greatest pieces of world music.

When Holy Saturday comes around, the believers hit the pews at the Church of Virgin Mary of Foreigners (Panagia ton Ksenon) at 6am, 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 urns filled with water that make a loud banging sound when they hit the ground. At Pinta, the old commercial center of the town, the custom of 'Mastelas' takes place: a barrel with water is decorated and filled with coins by the passers-by. At the time of the First Resurrection, someone jumps in the barrel 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 in the urn. Without any doubt, Easter in Corfu is a unique experience for everyone.