Come and experience a real Greek Easter in a place where you will be a part of something truly exceptional: in Patmos, where the Holy Flame is brought directly from Jerusalem; in Corfu, with its many colourful traditions; in Santorini, where thousands of tin lanterns light up the castle at Pyrgos on Good Friday; in Chios, where rocket-sized fireworks are launched into the skies over Vrontado; in Zakinthos, Ios, Syros, Sifnos, Skiathos, Chios and Folegandros. And it’s not just the islands; in Leonidio, Kalamata, Arahova, Nafpaktos, Tripoli, Messolongi, and scores of mountain villages you can experience every aspect of a Greek Easter.
Local customs, the Ionian marching bands, the Epitaphs that the parish women spend all night decorating on Holy Thursday, the solemn Good Friday processions, the Ascension ceremony on Easter Eve with its candles and fireworks, the Paschal lamb on the spit, and the services in churches, monasteries and chapels will entrance and uplift you. Spring in Greece is a celebration – and Easter is the pinnacle of this celebration!
Easter in Corfu: One Of The Most Beautiful In Greece
A popular destination in Greece, Corfu gives you so much cause to visit it. At the top of the list is its very special, world-famous, Easter celebration. The Philharmonic Society of Corfu accompanies the procession of the mummified body of the island’s patron, St Spyridon, as it is carried around the city on Good Friday. On Holy Saturday it rains “botides” – huge and heavy clay jars thrown onto the streets from people’s balconies. It’s certainly a day to keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you to avoid a nasty accident! Suffice to say, Easter on Corfu is something you should experience at least once in your lifetime.
Easter in Ermoupoli: An Illuminating Experience
Easter anywhere in Greece is by definition special, but Syros can boast something extraordinary. On Good Friday the elegant homes of Ermoupoli, Syros' main town, are all illuminated, enhancing the solemnity of the evening procession and transporting those present back to the atmosphere of the 19th century.
And whatever the time of year, you'll never tire of Syros, and Ermopouli in particular. Watched over from twin hilltops by its two graceful Orthodox and Catholic churches, this bustling yet regal port town has marble flagstones paving its spacious main square, the centrepiece of which is the grandiose Town Hall, a veritable work of art by the famous 19th-century architect, Ernst Ziller. Graceful, high-ceilinged neoclassical buildings exude an aura of past prosperity, among them the restored Apollo theatre (a miniature of Milan’s La Scala), the Hellas club, the Pallas cinema, the headquarters of the old merchants’ guild and many more perfect examples of the urban architecture of yesteryear. Their interiors are just as impressive, with wonderful wood carvings and sumptuous murals.
Easter in Patmos: A Divine Experience
An island with deep religious roots, Patmos encapsulates Easter in a way that no other place can. Each Easter, on the night of The Resurrection, the Holy Light makes it way from Jerusalem all the way to Patmos, an island that is worth visiting at any time of year but particularly during the Greek Orthodox calendar's most sacred period.
Patmos' religious roots are deep indeed. High on the hill above Patmos' Hora, the Monastery of St John the Theologian is one of Greece's most important centres of worship. This monastery, with its immensely significant religious history and imposing architecture, rises grandly over the Aegean and dominates the life of the island. The monastic community here has existed for over 900 years and the relics, rare documents, icons and other Orthodox treasures in the monastery are invaluable. It was established in 1088 by the Byzantine monk St Christodoulos the Blessed.
But perhaps best known of Patmos’ religious sites is the Cave of the Apocalypse, the candlelit grotto where it is believed that St John the Divine received his visions from Christ and transcribed the Book of Revelation, the last chapter of the Christian Bible. Exiled on Patmos in 95 AD, he preached to, baptised and prayed with the island’s inhabitants. Eventually, Patmos came to be considered sacred and the cave became the focal point of a significant religious pilgrimage.