EXPERIENCING THE EASTER IN CORFU, GREECE
Easter time in Greece is very popular for its different traditions and customs offered in different areas, and in the Greek Islands.
Easter time in Corfu Island is an experience worthy to live!
During the Easter time in Corfu, a period that the locals call it “Lambri”, meaning brightness, is where the festivities and the religious/psychological brightness create that unique feeling.
The festivities begin on Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday (one week), where even the Catholic churches participate in the festivities of the Orthodox Easter.
The festivities include lots of music, dancing, delicious food, and traditional customs, bringing people together.
The schedule includes:
Palm Sunday: The procession of the Holy Shrine of Saint Spyridon takes place, one of the largest litanies in Corfu, with philharmonic orchestras, and philharmonic parade around Corfu town.
Great Monday: The locals organize their Easter shopping, including the traditional Mantolato, Fogatsa, and Kolombines.
Great Tuesday: After approximately 21:00pm, when the evening service completes, the annual Easter theme poetry and music night continues, organized by the Organization of Corfiot Activities at Saint Michael and George Palace.
Great Wednesday: This day, the lanterns in the Town, the streets, and the Palace are dressed with purple light illustrating the grief, and during the noon, people visit the churches to hear the unctions.
Later in the evening, approximately at 20:30 pm, people visit the Island’s Municipal Theater to view the annual ecclesiastical music Easter Concert.
Maundy Thursday: Today is the day where people paint the eggs read, and a ritual is taking place in Duomo, the Catholic Cathedral.
Good Friday: One day before the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection! On that day, the philharmonic orchestras fill the streets with mournful marches.
The churches are taking care of the Epitaphs preparation, decorated with beautiful flowers.
33 Epitaphs, representing the age of Jesus, are processed around Corfu Town, which finally gathers at the center of the Town.
The philharmonic orchestras play each one of them a piece of specific music. The atmosphere is amazing, full of people holding lit candles, illuminating the night.
The procession of the epitaph’s ritual is completed with the outstanding epitaph of Corfu Cathedral, starting at 22:00 pm, from the Church, and returns at midnight. Accompanied by a philharmonic orchestra, and Venetian style lights, “manualia”, this procession is considered one the most glorious.
Good Saturday: On Good Saturday, basically begin the Easter celebrations.
During the morning hours, approximately at 06:00 am, a ritual is taking place in Saint Spyridon. They create an artificial earthquake to represent the resurrection, as described in the Holy Bible.
At 9:00 am, the procession of Saint Spyridon relics and the epitaph begins, accompanied by three philharmonics, the “Old”, “Kapodistrias”, and “Mantzaros”, and one of the oldest epitaph processions in Corfu, exceptionally processed on that day, since the epitaph processions are a tradition to take place on Good Friday.
At 11:00 am, the “First Resurrection” takes place inside the churches, and the bells of the churches ring cheerfully, and the popular “Botides” custom takes place in Corfu Town
“Botides” custom refers to the time when people are throwing big clay pots filled with water from their balconies, and the crowd is watching, and the philharmonics play religious marches.
The origin of this custom derives from the Venetian occupation, where people used to throw the old stuff from their balconies during New Year’s Eve, hoping that the New Year brings them happiness and new things.
In the Old Town of Corfu, another custom takes place, “Mastella” where a big barrel full of water is placed by the road, and all people passing by should throw a coin in the barrel.
At the time of “First Resurrection”, one person selected randomly is thrown in the barrel to collect the coins from its bottom.
In the night, the Catholic Mass of the Resurrection takes place in the Catholic Cathedral at 10.00 pm and ends by 11.00 pm. This happens so that people can also attend the Orthodox mass of the Resurrection and celebrate together.
Easter Sunday: At 12:00 midnights today, the Resurrection of Christ takes place in the Upper Spianada Square, where the crowd holds lit candles, the fireworks begin lighting up the sky, and the philharmonics play cheerful marches, to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection.
Upon completion of the celebrations in Spianada Square, the philharmonics march around Corfu Town, and the people follow them, singing along.
A mouthwatering dinner follows the celebration, offering a Corfiot dish, “Tsillichourda” (meat soup), “fogatsa” (a traditional Corfiot brioche, red eggs, and wine!
On Easter Sunday morning, around Corfu, people are singing and dancing to folk music.
On Monday Easter, Corfiots have the tradition to gather altogether to eat the traditional Greek Easter Meal, roasted lamb, and kokoretsi!
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