In Greece, Pascha (Easter) is the most important religious holiday of the Orthodox
Church. It represents the victory of life over death and eternal life. Pascha celebrations
are exciting and monumental all over Greece and no matter where you decide to travel,
it will be an unforgettable experience.
However, the island of Corfu is considered one of the most famous and impressive
destinations to celebrate Easter in Greece and promises a lifetime experience for first-
time visitors to the island.
It can be described as huge religious multi-festival where various and diverse
components come together harmoniously. Deep faith, Orthodox Christians, the Roman
Catholic community, centuries-old traditions, family customs, Venetian influence,
spectacular music and of course spring aromas and flowers.
The Corfiot Easter is a one-of- a-kind opportunity to live the Passion Week in
devoutness and at the same time experience joyful celebrations!
The beginning of Passion Week is dedicated to the preparations for the celebration of
Easter. Women are cleaning the houses and preparing traditional foyatsa, mandolato,
koulouria ths Lamprhs and dye Easter eggs with special red dyes, a custom that
symbolises the rebirth of life and nature. Foyatsa is a sweet (a kind of brioche) Greek
Easter yeast bread that is traditionally baked on Holy Thursday but it can only be eaten
on Easter Sunday. It is also decorated with a red egg. Mandolato is sweet and is made
of almond and honey. Κoulouria ths Lamprhs are buttered cookies that are traditionally
offered as a gift during Easter holidays. However, you can only taste them after the end
of the fasting period.
Every day, around noun, the Corfiots go to church and attend the ceremonies. On Holy
Thursday in the Catholic Cathedral, something unique and powerful takes place.
Twelve candles are lit, each one for every Gospel of the Twelve Gospels and each one
is erased at the end of every reading.
Good Friday is the day of Epitaphios, a re-enactment of the burial of Christ. The
epitaph processions in Corfu have their own colours and aromas and follow traditional
rituals that make the experience even more ecstatic. The numerous churches all over
the island bring out their own funeral bier that is decorated by young girls and «parade»
it around the community. Throughout the way thousands of lit candles are put on
roadsides indicating its path. The outstanding and widely known Corfiot philharmonic
bands and choirs attend the ceremony and give another dimension to the occasion. The
sound of the funeral bells ringing combined with the divine sound of philharmonic music,
the sweet melancholy of the day and the aromas of the nature in blossom, give strong
and unforgettable emotions to those who join the procession on its way through the
streets in a mystic atmosphere of devout concentration.
The Epitaph of Corfu Cathedral, the most impressive and beautifully decorated Epitaph
of the island, makes its appearance around 10.00 pm. It is born by marine soldiers. All
the priests of the town participate and three philharmonic bands follow the parade. At
the end, it intersects with the Epitaphs of all other churches at the centre of town.
On Holy Saturday at 11.00 a.m., you will have the chance to experience a one of kind,
amazing and unforgettable celebration. After the announcement of the First
Resurrection, locals are shouting «Christos Anesti» and throw clay pots (some of them
filled with water!) out of their windows onto the streets below, to exorcise death and evil
spirits. The famous philharmonic bands are playing festive music and the bells are
ringing joyfully. It is said that this custom comes from the Ancient Greeks who were
making loud noises in order to wake up the goddess of spring and accelerate the
coming of spring.
Around midnight, people go by thousands to the central squares, holding lit candles, to
attend the ceremony of the Resurrection of Christ. It is celebrated with glory, beat drums
and fireworks. The philharmonic bands play cheerful music and the challenge of the red eggs begins! The breaking of the eggs symbolizes the way Christ «broke» death. The
fasting period ends and special traditional dishes are served. Chilikourda, a local Easter
soup with lamb intestines, eggs, columbines, a Venetian bread baked in the form of a
dove) and lots of wine!
On Easter Sunday morning, in every church there is a procession of the Resurrection.
There is a parade around the central streets followed by the bands and hundreds of
people. At the end of the ceremony the festive Easter meal is served and it is something
well worth tasting. Lambs on the spit, red eggs, foyatsa, local wine followed by singing
and dancing. Easter Sunday is the perfect day for families and friends to unite, eat
together and create unforgettable memories.
Easter in Corfu is bright and amazing beyond all expectations. Do not miss the chance
to become a member of this big happy family and live a unique and lifetime experience.
If you like to combine traditional religious holidays with amazing dining experiences and emotions, visit Corfu and taste the experience either here or here .