Easter is the biggest festival for Orthodox Christianity and every place in Greece has its own particular way of celebrating it. The customs of many areas have been preserved to this day, captivating thousands of visitors and their camera lenses with their sheer spectacle!
Are you ready to live the Greek Easter experience in “Hollywood” style? Follow us to 7 destinations in Greece organizing a cinematic Easter for you!
On the “lady” of the Ionian Islands, Corfu, the festive events of Easter are a time-honoured ritual. During Holy Week, the Philharmonic Band provides a continuous soundtrack to events on the streets of the main town. On Holy Saturday, one of the most popular Greek Easter customs takes place. Huge pots filled with water are thrown off the balconies of the old stately homes of the town centre accompanied by deafening cannon fire! It’s eccentric, thrilling and wonderfully atmospheric all at the same time. You have to be there!
The mood on the elegant Cycladic island of Syros during Easter is one of harmony and solidarity as the two churches, Orthodox and Catholic, come together to celebrate Easter and always at the same weekend every year; Hollywood scriptwriters couldn’t have come up with a better ‘happy ending’. Among other events, followers of both pillars of the faith gather in prayer outside the Town Hall on Holy Saturday. Fireworks during the Resurrection Service decorate the Cycladic sky, turning night into day in an extremely impressive display. The next morning, Easter Sunday, and an effigy of Judas goes up in flame as an essential part of the revelry.
Chios at Easter can excite in the same way as a much-anticipated blockbuster! The incomparable custom of the rocket war has been revived every year since the time of the Turkish occupation, fireworks ripping through the sky as two churches face off against each other, launching rockets at each other’s bell towers. The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated in a unique manner on the mastic island and is guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime for those who love unprecedented Easter thrills.
#4. Leonidio -Tyros
Once in a while a movie comes along with such vivid images that it simply refuses to budge from the memory. The spectacular Leonidio and amazing Tyros Easter celebrations in Arcadia will both do exactly this. The Resurrection in Leonidio is celebrated with the release of colourful hot air balloons into the sky and for the next thirty minutes it is difficult to tear your gaze away from this compelling sight. Stiff necks all round in the morning! In neighbouring Tyros the harbor is “set on fire” when the locals, taking on the role of the war time captains of old, burn the effigy of Judas and set fire to the beacon, Afanos, in the parish of Agia Marina!
Yet another unique destination for celebrating Easter is medieval Nafpaktos. Here the most intriguing part of the plot takes place on Good Friday! Locals and visitors alike form a great procession behind the Holy Bier, making their way to the medieval castle in the harbor. Naturally, there is great solemnity to this occasion, but also a touch of the dramatic as flickering torches light up the harbour walls and battlements, firing the imaginations of everyone present. The blazing cross at the port entrance and the colourful fireworks are the next big scene stealers, keeping the atmosphere palpably electric till the very end!
In Kalamata, Easter is preceded by a period of thorough and meticulous preparation! Easter Sunday is of course the day on which all this preparation comes to fruition, not least in the epic war of paper planes! What this actually means is that, with the help of a little gunpowder, improvised paper projectiles are catapulted into the sky- great fun for anyone in the thick of the action in the Messinian capital! With plenty of photos posted on social media, everyone is soon looking forward to the sequel next Easter.
Normally we don’t approve of spoilers, but maybe we could just say that ‘something is afoot’ on Folegandros during Easter! The big reveal is that it is actually the whole island! Abandoning any kind of wheeled vehicle, everyone joins the procession of the silver icon of the Virgin Mary, starting on Easter Sunday from the top of the cliff above the main town where the whitewashed stone built Monastery of Panagia lies. After passing from village to village and from home to home, it ends up in Karavostasi, the harbor of the island, where it continues on to the caiques! The Easter experience on Folegandros deserves an Oscar every year!