Every year, when Greek Easter rolls around, there is something special in the air. Easter in Greece is an extremely important holiday and the lead up to it as well as Easter Sunday is filled with tradition and celebration across the country.
Labades (ceremonial candles), dyed red eggs, and spit-roasted lamb is standard wherever you are, but some places in Greece have some truly unique and fascinating festivities! Next time you visit Greece during the springtime, be sure to check out some of these special Easter celebrations for a day to remember.
Corfu’s Flying Pots
The island of Corfu is well-known across Greece for its unique Easter tradition of throwing large vats from apartment balconies. The whole town gathers in one of the main town squares to watch as huge pots, painted red, are thrown from balconies to the streets down below.
The pots are filled with water and red ribbons, making a beautiful spectacle as they freefall from above. Joyous cheers and the sounds of celebration can be heard far and wide as people from Corfu and beyond enjoy Greek Easter.
Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@giwrgoskatehis
Leonidio’s tradition from abroad
Leonidio is a small town in the southern Peloponnese region of Greece. Although throughout the year it is like any other seaside town, during Greek Easter it truly comes alive.
On Holy Saturday, beautiful paper lanterns illuminated by candlelight peacefully float in the skies above the town. These vibrant lanterns are not used to celebrate Easter anywhere else in Greece apart from Leonidio and are not to be missed! This beautiful tradition is locally believed to have arisen due to sailors having seen similar festivals in East Asia and bringing this form of celebration back to Greece.
Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@climbinleonidio
Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@hertzgreece
Patmos’ Religious Exhibitions
The island of Patmos is a place of great significance for Christianity around the year, as the place where St. John is said to have written the Book of Revelations. Its monasteries become the home of unique Easter celebrations every year for a show to remember!
There are two main Greek Easter traditions on the island. The annual reenactment of the Last Supper brings in crowds, as does the even more well-known Niptiros (“washbasin”) ceremony. The ceremony, which dates back to the Byzantine period but is now only celebrated on Patmos and in Jerusalem, occurs on Holy Thursday. The Abbot of the Monastery of St. John symbolically sprinkles the feet of monks in what is also sometimes referred to as the feet-washing ceremony.
Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@tatakisg
Chios’ Rocket War
The island of Chios takes a phenomenon seen across Greece to a whole new level during Easter. Across the country, people are treated to firework shows as they celebrate the Resurrection on Holy Saturday. On Chios, this tradition is given a competitive twist between the two main churches in the town of Vrontados.
Starting in the afternoon and continuing until after midnight, the church of Agios Markos and that of Panagia Erythiani each fire thousands of rockets across the town. Vrontados is painted with streams of light as locals and visitors gather to witness this stunning spectacle.
Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@g_tsafos
No matter what town you find yourself in during Greek Easter, you are sure to take part in some beautiful and unforgettable traditions. Delicious spit-roasted lamb and marches throughout town are sure to take place across the country – but you shouldn’t miss out on some of these special experiences!