Corfu Easter – Top 5 Things to do
Corfu Easter – 5 things not to be missed!
Easter is one of the greatest religious festivals in Greece. Greeks call it “Pascha”, coming from the jewish word “pesach”, which means passage, and as all orthodoxs, they celebrate the passage, accomplished through Jesus Christ sacrifice, from sin and death to freedom and life.
One of Greece’s most well known Easter Celebrations is Corfu Easter. A combination of religious and local customs accompanied by the long cultural tradition and the island’s natural beauty, make Corfu Easter really unique. Among the many events taking place in Corfu, during the Easter period, there are certainly 5 things not to be missed.
1. Corfu Easter Concerts
Corfu’s philarmonic bands have great share of the Easter celebrations. Starting from Palm Sunday and dyring the Holy Week, there are several concerts taking place in Corfu’s Municipal theatre, in the Catholic Duomo, in the Museum of Asian Art and elsewhere. The week just before the Holy Week Corfu’s Events Organization announces Easter Celebrations programs, so you will have the chance to choose the one that suits you best.
2. Good Friday – The Epitaph Litany
The day of the peak of the divine drama, all churches organize a litany of the Epitaph’s icon. The procession is accompanied by philarmonic bands, choirs, school students and scouts. Litanies start around 2 p.m. and they take place all over the city. At 10 p.m. is the great litany of the Corfu’s Metropolitan Church, where all bands, choirs, students and scouts meet. The atmosphere is absolutely dignified.
Tip of the day
During the Metropolitan Church’s Epitaph enjoy the mournful marching by the philarmonic bands. Corfu’s oldest band “Palaia” plays Albinoni’s Adagio, while “Mantzaros” philarmonic plays Verdi’s Marcia Funebre.
3. Great Saturday – The First Resurrection
After the litany of the Epitaph of Saint Spyridon’s Church, the only one taking place that day, at 11 a.m. Corfiots celebrate the First Resurrection. The celebration is accompanied by the famous custom of the “Boti” (ceramic pot) Breaking. Locals throw, from their windows, small and pretty large ceramic pots filled in with water, for greater clack. The custom is a combination of an old Venetians’ custom that, on New Year’s Day, they used to throw old objects from their windows so as the New Year will bring them new, and a pretty old custom that during Spring the locals throw away old pots in order to collect the new crop in new ones.
Tips of the day
- The litany of Saint Spyridon’s Church takes place in that day because of the Venetians’ prohibition, in 1574, for epitaphs to take place during Good Friday night.
- The mournful marchings of the philarmonic bands are immersive. “Palaia” plays italians composer Faccio, Amplet, “Mantzaros” plays Micheli’s “Calde Lacrime” (Hot Tears), while “Kapodistrias” philarmonic band plays Beethoven’s Marcia Funebre from Eroica Symphony.
4. Great Saturday – Night Resurrection & “Magiritsa”
On Great Saturday night is the celebration of Jesus Christ Resurrection. In every church locals come with lit candles to celebrate the divine miracle. On 12 o’ clock the joyful message arrives, bells ring and fireworks illuminate the night sky. Whether you choose a local church or Corfu’s largest square, “Spianada”, the celebration is worth attending.
After that comes a local recipe. Greek orthodoxs for 40 days before Easter have the fasting period during which they do not eat meat. At Great Saturday’s night comes the end of that period with a delicious dinner of the so called “Magiritsa” or “Tsilichourds” as the Corfiots call it. It is a recipe made of lamb’s offal, pretty unique but also delicious. Have the chance to taste it in a local restaurant or tavern.
5. Easter Sunday – Litanies of Resurrection Icon & Easter Feast
For those that can handle an early morning wake up, starting at 7 a.m., on Easter Sunday morning churches organize litanies of the Resurrection’s ican accompanied by small groups of the philarmonic bands. Choose your favorite cafeteria at Liston promenade and watch the litanies pass by. After that comes the Easter lunch, with lamb on the spit, “red” eggs, greek wine and of course greek music and dancing.
Corfu Easter is truly one of the kind and definately on pf the best periods, besides summer, to visit the island. Since it is a period that many greek and foreign visitors come, it is a good idea to reserve a table for Great Saturday night dinner and Easter Sunday lunch. Also keep in mind that on Good Friday and Great Saturday many roads around Corfu Old Town are closed, so use the public transportation or enjoy a nice walk in order to approach the city’s historical center.