Easter in Corfu
Springtime in Corfu is special for one more reason than the enhancement of the island’s natural beauty, triggered by the lovely weather. It brings along with it the celebration of Easter, the most important religious event for the Orthodox church, but also one of Corfu’s unique cultural elements.
Easter in Corfu is known worldwide, not only for the religious reverence radiating from the extraordinary atmosphere, created by the combination of gleam candlelight and grieving music, but also for its artistic aspect as well as the lively celebrations. So whether you are religious or not, Easter in Corfu is an unforgettable experience that is not to be missed!
And it is another reason why you should plan your visit for springtime, if you want to experience one of the island’s most festive and culturally charged periods.
During Easter in Corfu, religious events and rituals are succeeded by various customs and music spectacles. The festivities last during the whole Holy Week and they gradually escalate and intensify in emotional charge, until they climax on resurrection Sunday. On Good Monday, the streets of Corfu are filled with the sweet smell of fogatsa, the traditional corfiot brioche, while churchgoers attend masses during the holy week, to experience the holy passion week.
On Good Friday, the grieving funeral atmosphere is breathtaking. In the afternoon, the candlelit procession of the Epitaphs begins. Each church in the city of Corfu adorns its own epitaph procession which even includes a representation of the holy cross.
The procession takes place afterwards in the streets of the old town, accompanied by worshipers and the philharmonic (brass bands) while the different epitaph processions often meet at various points in town. This mystifying scene is dubbed by solemn classical and church music, played by the philharmonics, that reflects the melancholy of the holy week. You will have the chance to hear them interpret works and funeral marches by famous composers such as Beethoven, Verdi and Chopin.
Later that night, the procession of the epitaph of the cathedral takes place, beginning from “Duomo” in the town hall square. This is one of the most imposing processions which constitutes a representation of the body of Christ as he descended from the cross. Despite the difference in the calendar between the Orthodox and the Catholic church, it has been agreed that in Corfu, the cathedral celebrates Easter together with the rest of the orthodox religious community.
The solemn atmosphere reaches its peak and the Liston lights turn purple, as a sign of mourning. On Saturday morning there is a sudden change in the mood. Very early in the morning, in the first resurrection Mass, worshipers reenact the “earthquake” that followed the resurrection of Christ.
At 11 am, the church bells announce the joyful event. People throw pots made of clay from their windows and balconies, in one of the most popular Greek Easter traditions, maybe as an attempt to drive away evil spirits. The philharmonic bands then put on unique music shows, playing festive music, to message of revival that accompanies the orthodox resurrection. On Easter Sunday, Greek people traditionally hold huge festive meals, accompanied by traditional food and wine, which you will be able to try out as well in one of the old town’s traditional restaurants.
If you haven’t yet experienced this unique traditional celebration, put it in your bucket list now, and we will be more than happy to see you next Easter in Rodostamo Hotel & Spa!
photos taken by wikimedia.org