Easter is one of the most important religious holidays of the Orthodox Church in Greece. And nowhere is this more evident than on the island of Corfu. Every year the Corfiots celebrate Easter with unique customs and traditions that people pass down from generation to generation. The traditions are even bigger, more pious and more spectacular with rituals found nowhere else. It’s a special event and a good reason for us volunteers to visit Corfu in spring.
One of the most characteristic aspects of Easter in Corfu is the custom of “pot throwing” on Holy Saturday. In this custom, people participating throw clay pots filled with water from the balconies of houses and apartments to the streets below. The origins of this custom are unclear. Some believe that it symbolizes the renewal of life and the break from old habits.
Another cherished tradition is the “Epitaphios” procession that takes place on Good Friday. The epitaph, a beautifully decorated bier representing the body of Christ, is carried through the streets of the town, accompanied by solemn hymns and mourning chants. It’s a poignant and emotional experience that draws crowds of people from all over the island.
Traditional Easter food
The Corfiots gather with their loved ones for a festive meal centre around lamb roasted on a spit. The lamb is slow-cooked over a wood fire, seasoned with herbs and spices until it’s tender and juicy. And no Easter feast would be complete without the traditional red-dyed eggs, which are cracked together in a game of “tsougrisma” – a symbol of the resurrection.
As night falls, the sky over Corfu lits up with a spectacular fireworks display. This is the pinnacle of the Easter celebrations. And people from all walks of life come together in the central square to witness the vibrant explosions that light up the night sky.
Easter in Corfu is not just a religious celebration. It’s especially a time to reconnect with friends and family and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of this stunning island. From the pot-throwing to the epitaph procession, the lamb roast to the fireworks display, Easter in Corfu is certainly an unforgettable experience.