Spring holidays in Corfu are special for one more reason rather than the island’s natural beauty and the mild weather. The reason is Easter, Easter in Greece is one of the most important religious event for the Orthodox church but also one of Corfu’s unique cultural elements.
Easter in Corfu is known worldwide, not only for the religious reverence radiating from the extraordinary atmosphere, created by the combination of gleam candlelight and grieving music, but also for its artistic aspect as well as the lively celebrations held by the locals. If you only get one chance in your lifetime to visit Corfu, then it should definitely be during the greek Easter celebration. Easter in Corfu is a unique religious experience which is held each year with a glory and splendour not seen anywhere else in the world. You can join in the huge celebration, discover the unique rituals of the locals, and explore the beauty of the island during spring!
So whether you are religious or not, Easter in Corfu is an unforgettable experience that is not to be missed!
The religious events for the Corfiot Easter start on Palm Sunday and during the whole Holy Week there would be plenty of events, festivities and local rituals and they gradually escalate and intensify in emotional charge, until they climax on resurrection Sunday.
On Good Monday, the streets of Corfu town are filled with the sweet smell of fogatsa, a traditional corfiot bread-brioche which is consumed during the easter period and the solemn atmosphere reaches its peak as the Liston lights turn purple, as a sign of mourning. During the first days of the Holy week, it would be a good idea to discover also the countryside during the , which is exceptionally beautiful at this time of year and return in the evening at the centre of Corfu town to experience churchgoers attending the masses.
On Good Friday, the grieving funeral atmosphere is breathtaking. In the afternoon, the candlelit procession of the Epitaphs begins. Each church in the city of Corfu adorns its own epitaph procession which even includes a representation of the holy cross.
The procession takes place afterwards in the streets of the old town, accompanied by worshipers and the philharmonic (brass bands) while the different epitaph processions often meet at various points in town. This mystifying scene is dubbed by solemn classical and church music, played by the philharmonics, that reflects the melancholy of the holy week. You will have the chance to hear them interpret works and funeral marches by famous composers such as Beethoven, Verdi and Chopin.
Despite the difference in the calendar between the Orthodox and the Catholic church, it has been agreed that in Corfu, the two churches celebrate Easter together with the rest of the orthodox religious community.
On Saturday morning there is a sudden change in the mood. Very early in the morning, in the first resurrection Mass, worshipers reenact the “earthquake” that followed the resurrection of Christ.
At 11 in the morning, the church bells announce the joyful event. People throw pots made of clay from their windows and balconies, in one of the most popular Greek Easter traditions, maybe as an attempt to drive away evil spirits. The philharmonic bands then put on unique music shows, playing festive music, to message of revival that accompanies the orthodox resurrection.
On Easter Sunday, Greek people traditionally hold huge festive meals, accompanied by traditional food and wine, which you will be able to try out as well in one of the old town’s traditional restaurants.
If you haven’t yet experienced an Easter in Corfu, put it in your travel list now, and start planning for your next Easter Holiday in Corfu.