The celebration of Easter in Corfu is a completely different experience, from anywhere else in Greece, combining the religion faith with diferent traditions are origin from the period of Venetian domination. A combination of the Orthodox Christian faith, the Roman Catholic community, the music of the philharmonic bands, the local culture and of course the presence of Saint Spiridon.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the day when the deliverance of Corfu from the plague in 1630, thanks to the intervention of Saint Spiridon, is celebrated. The Body of the Saint is taken in procession around the streets of the town, accompanied by all the island's philharmonic orchestras. The procession sets off from the Saint's Church at 11 in the morning and follows the line of the old town walls, from where the Saint drove off the plague.

Holy Wednesday

On Holy Wednesday the Municipal Choir gives a concert of ecclesiastical music at the Municipal Theatre. This tradition was established in 1989 with the aim of approaching the Holy Drama through the music of both the Eastern and the Western Church.

Holy Thursday

The Holy Thursday the Service of the Twelve Gospels at the Duomo, the Catholic Cathedral in the Town Hall Square, where they light twelve candles and extinguish them one by one as the reading of each gospel is completed.One custom which today has disappeared is that of Holy Thursday, which was preserved by women in the countryside until recently. The women would attend the church service, and while the priest was chanting the ritual of the Twelve Apostles, they would knit a piece of thread with their fingers. They would place the little charm thus made around the wrist of a baby to ensure that God would protect it.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day of the Epitaphios, the funeral of Christ. All over the island, as all over Greece, 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 Corfiots as well as foreign visitors, give another dimension to the gravity of the occasion. It is worth noting that the Old Philharmonic Orchestra (in red uniform) play Albinoni's 'Adagio', the Mantzaros Orchestra (in blue) Verdi's 'Marcia Funebre', and the Kapodistrias Orchestra the 'Elegia Funebre', Mariana's 'Sventura' and Chopin's 'Funeral March'. The town processions start in the afternoon to give the orchestras time to escort them all. As the hours pass, the processions become thicker on the ground, until they all converge on each other and people don't know which way to look first. The first epitaphios leaves the Church of the Blessed Virgin of Spiliotissa in the New Fortress and the Church of Pantokrator in Kampielo at two in the afternoon, and other churches follow, until ten in the evening sees the exit of the Epitaphios from the Orthodox Cathedral.

Holy Saturday

On Holy Saturday, at 6 a.m. in the morning, the custom of 'the earthquake' is carried out at the Church of the Blessed Virgin of Strangers. This is a re-enactment of the earthquake which took place after the Resurrection, as described in the Bible. Later, at 9 a.m., the procession of Saint Spiridon, which was consecrated in 1550 when the Saint saved the island from famine, takes place. The Saint shares the stage with the Epitaphios of his own church, a custom which was established during Venetian times when, for reasons of security, epitaphios processions were forbidden, whereas the procession of the Saint was permitted to take place. The accompanying orchestras play Michelli's 'Calde Lacrime', Faccio's "Hamlet' and Beethoven's Funeral March.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. This noisy custom, originating with the Venetians, began in the town and spread to the villages. The Venetians used to throw all their old and useless objects out of the window on January 1st each year, so that the New Year might bring them new ones. The Corfiots adopted this custom and moved it to their great Easter celebration. Nowadays, instead of throwing out old crockery, the people use big, specially made pots (called a 'botis'), filled with water to make a louder crash. Another explanation for the custom gives it a pagan provenance. At Easter, nature starts its new year and re-awakens after winter. The fruits are collected in new receptacles, throwing out the old ones. After the breaking of the pots, the philharmonic orchestras tour the streets playing joyful songs. At Pinia, the old commercial centre of the town, the custom of the 'mastelas' (washtub) has been revived. A half-barrel decorated with myrtle and ribbons is filled with water, and passers-by are invited to throw coins into it for good luck. When the first bell sounds for the Resurrection, someone jumps into the barrel and collects up the money. In old times the diver was not a volunteer but an unsuspecting passer-by, thrown in against his will.

On Holy Saturday 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 prepare themselves for the Orthodox service. All over Greece the ceremony takes place on a platform outside the church. In some Corfiot villages , indeed, it is the custom to close the doors of the church, and with the cry of "Christ is Risen' (Christos Anesti) the priest, having made three circuits of the church while chanting, kicks open the central door and enters, singing the psalm 'Enter,enter by the Grace of God'. 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. "Good evening brothers and sisters , the season's greetings. Lent which lasted seven weeks is over. Lent, when we were sad, is over, and now all the world is joyful because Christ is risen, and Christians everywhere are glad". This is from an Easter carol, which children would sing late on Holy Saturday evening.

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.

New Week

On Easter Monday processions take place throughout the island. Early in the morning, after the services, each church brings out its standard and its Cross.


Philippos Hotel

Philippos hotel is situated in the centre of the friendly resort of Kassiopi on the North East coast of Corfu. The hotel is located in the middle of an olive grove, an quiet place ideal for families and couples. Go to Philippos Hotel page


En Plo

Set in a historic area of the old town with magnificent views to the Greek Mainland, the ΄΄ EN PLO΄΄ Café – Restaurant, offers you an excellent opportunity to get away from it all. Go to En Plo page


En Plo

Set in a historic area of the old town with magnificent views to the Greek Mainland, the ΄΄ EN PLO΄΄ Café – Restaurant, offers you an excellent opportunity to get away from it all. Go to En Plo page



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