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Corfu Easter !

The celebration of Easter in Corfu a unique experience, completely different from anywhere else in Greece and particularly impressive for first-time visitors to the island!

It is a huge festival, in which various components come together harmoniously, the Orthodox Christian faith, pagan traditions, the powerful presence of Saint Spiridon, the Roman Catholic community, the Venetian influence, genuine Corfiot humour, the music of the philharmonic bands and of course the spring atmosphere.

Holy Week throughout is characterised by its church services, by fasting, and by the anticipation of the Resurrection. We recommend that during Holy Week you leave the town and venture out to the villages. Wander in the countryside, that is moving into spring and the season of fertility and renewal, and enjoy its perfumes. After the dullness of winter, with its rains and cold weather, the sunlight underscores the fresh colours of nature.

The white, yellow, mauve and green of the wild flowers, the blue of the sky and the sea, form a backdrop to the grey stone walls of the monasteries with their westernized wall-frescoes.

Good Friday is the day of the Epitaphios, the funeral of Christ. All over the island, as all over , every church brings out its own funeral bier and parades it around the parish. In Corfu however, the attendant philharmonic orchestras and choirs, the presence of thousands of CorfiotÂ’s as well as foreign visitors, give another dimension to the gravity of the occasion.

On Holy Saturday at 11 a.m. the First Resurrection and the “Pot Throwing” custom take place, and the local people throw pots out of their windows, smashing them onto the streets below. In the evening, before the Orthodox ceremony takes place, you may attend the Catholic service at the Duomo Cathedral. With the participation of all Church officials, the Resurrection service finishes here at 11 pm, to permit the clergy time to pre pare themselves for the Orthodox service. All over the ceremony takes place on a platform outside the church.

In Corfu Town, the service is held in the Upper Esplanade Square, starting at the Church of Agia Paraskevi, with the, participation of the Bishop, the philharmonic orchestras, and thousands of people. The Resurrection is seen in with a roll of drums and an impressive firework display, and when this ends the bands traverse the streets of the town at a great pace playing cheerful music, with people running behind them singing.

The party has only just begun, and will last until dawn. The Resurrection is celebrated and the Lenten fast is broken with chilihourda (the local Easter soup), red eggs, fogatsa (brioche), columbines (a special bread of Venetian origin, baked in the form of a dove) and of course lots of wine. Easter Sunday at 7 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning, churches in town which possess an icon of the Resurrection parade it around the central streets, something which is well worth seeing.

The parades finish at around 10 a.m. but the great Easter Celebration is far from overer !


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