Easter in Corfu - Throwing Pots from Balconies
Celebration of Easter in Corfu is a unique experience! Don't miss it!
On Easter Saturday. At 6.00 a.m. at the church of the Virgin Mary of Ksénon (of the strangers) the custom of the artificial earthquake re-enacts the earthquake that followed Christ’s Resurrection. At 11.00 a.m., the first Resurrection is announced. People say the phrase “Christós Anésti” (Christ is risen) to one another. The response is “Alithós Anésti” (he has truly risen). Be prepared to experience a truly unique celebration: “Christós Anésti” is proclaimed against a background of loudly pealing bells and the joyful sounds of the bands as they parade through the streets. People hurl clay pots from windows and balconies which crash noisily on the streets below.
At night, attend the Catholic Mass of the Resurrection in Duomo, or the Orthodox Resurrection Service at “Páno Platía” (Upper Square). Visitors will find themselves surrounded by thousands of lit candles: on balconies, on window sills or held by others attending the ceremony. The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated at 12.00 sharp with drum beats and fireworks.
Finally, to celebrate Easter Sunday, after attending the Service of Love, venture out of Corfu town and into the countryside and villages to participate in all the festivities held throughout the island.
The history behind the tradition of the throwing pots:
How did it start?
The noisy custom derived from the Venetians, who on New Year’s Day, would throw their old things from the windows in the hopes of receiving new ones for the next year.
The Corfiots adopted the tradition, applying it to the most important day in their calendar, the Greek Easter. Somewhere along the way, old things have been replaced by pots and jugs of water, which make for an even louder noise upon impact.
It is even thought that the peculiar custom may have roots in the biblical passage “Thou, O Lord, raise me up, that I may crush them as a potter’s vessel.” There might also be lineage to the beginning of plantation season, when newly harvested produce was stored in new pots, and the old ones were destroyed.