Easter in Greece: smashing ´botides´ in Corfu
Easter is considered to be one of the biggest celebrations across Greece with a great variety of traditions and events from place to place. The island of Corfu is one of the most famous places known for its special events and celebrations during this time. People around the world are visiting the Ionian island to witness the smashing of ´botides´, enjoy the philharmonic orchestra and walk across the ´Liston´ square lit in purple lights.
So, let´s see how these events offer a spiritual twist to the Greek Easter:
The philharmonic orchestra
Probably the most widely known and oldest philharmonic orchestras in Greece dating back to 1630, is the first sign that Easter in Corfu is about to begin. On the Friday before the ´Holy week´, the philharmonics are gathering in the Church of ´Saint Spyridon´ protector of the island starting their first concert with psalms. During the week, the philharmonic orchestra is parading around the island spreading the sounds of psalms to honor Greek Easter. Interestingly, the orchestra was originally created in memory of the plague victims (1629 A.D.). The highlight of the island´s philharmonics is on Easter Sunday at 12 pm when they start playing cheerfully celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This breathtaking event takes place in Spianada Square with the crowd singing along watching the fireworks.
The custom that everyone is keen to experience on the island of Corfu during Easter! The famous smashing of Botides, which are huge clay potteries, takes place on Good Saturday representing the First Resurrection. People throw big clay pots filled with water from their balconies while the orchestra is playing. Adopting these customs from the Venetians, the residents of the island banish in this way the evil and welcome Spring in Corfu. Could it be even more spectacular? If not, it definitely could be more excited as people are running right after that to ´Pinia´ Square for the custom of ´Mastella´. Right in the middle of the square, there is a big barrel with ´wish coins´ where believers are competing with each other for the first dive, winning all the lucky coins!
The Venetian style and central square of the Greek island are dressed in purple during the Holy week. Going back to history purple used to be the color of mourning. As people around the world adopted with time the black color, Corfiots maintain the old tradition, expressing their grief for Christ´s Crucifixion lighting their biggest square. Liston is also a meeting point for the great procession of Epitaphs during Holy Week, one of the most important and ceremonial rituals in the Greek Orthodox Church that represents the funeral of Jesus Christ.
Overall, the traditions and customs of Corfu on Easter time are known all over the world. Which is why the Greek island of Corfu is considered to be one of the best places to experience during Easter. If you have already added Corfu to your bucket list, Easter is the perfect time to visit!
But then again you should visit Greece any time of the year!