Easter in Corfu- A unique experience full of meaningful customs

There’s nowhere else like Corfu for Easter. It is the most significant religious holiday for the Greek Orthodox Church. On Corfu, however, Easter has a completely different significance. For the majority of Greeks, taking a vacation here is an opportunity that comes only once in a lifetime.

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Easter on Corfu: A distinctive occasion rich in cultural traditions
Every Greek Island and the various regions surrounding mainland Greece celebrate Easter and Holy Week according to their own traditions. But you really have to go to Corfu if you want to experience what this week is all about. It draws thousands of visitors from abroad and Greece each year. During Holy Week, everyone wants to go on this incredible emotional roller coaster, and there is no other place from which to hop on this ride than Corfu.

 

PALM SUNDAY
Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week. At “Saint Spyridon” Church, the Patron Saint of Corfu, the Litany of the “Holy Shrine” begins. The length of the Venetian city walls is covered by this, the largest Litany. It has always happened this way since 1630: every year. It acts as a reminder of Corfu’s miraculous escape from the “Deadly Plague” that spread throughout the island in 1629. The participation of the city’s Philharmonics, also referred to as the “Brass Bands,” is one of the day’s major attractions. There is a total of 18 of these Bands, not just one or two! contributing to the ceremony’s breathtaking musical crescendo of sights and sounds. Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly “Holy, “this week ,you cannot help but feel these goosebumps slowing creeping up on you during such majestic music deliverance.

GOOD MONDAY

It takes little more than a leisurely stroll around the city’s streets to pique your appetite. Cooking for Easter traditionally begins today. The aroma of “Foyatsa,” one of the many regional specialties, is permeating the air. This is a classic sweet bread that typically has a red egg in the centre. During Easter, a “Mandolato” is also very popular. A tasty macaroon with honey and almonds. But don’t be fooled Lent is still in effect, so some of these treats won’t be available until Easter Sunday to taste some.

Sweet bread from Foyatsa

GOOD TUESDAY
Visit a city church to hear lovely Byzantine hymns telling the story of “Maria Magdalene.” The afternoon is when these services take place. “Poetry night” at the Old Palace’s Peristyle is another intriguing event in which you can take part. The topic for this evening is “From Golgotha to Resurrection,” and it begins at about 21:00.

GOOD WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
Today during the morning liturgy, parishes celebrate the Holy Unction. In the meantime, the Municipal Chorus is performing hymns at the Municipal Theatre. This begins at around 8:30pm.

Red Easter eggs!
Today is the day we colour eggs red, a tradition with strong roots in the early Christian era. It represents the renewal of nature and life and the blood of Christ. No matter which church you decide to visit today, you will hear the 12 Gospels. It is the service of the Holy Passion.

An interesting fact to mention here, is that despite the usual differences in dates between the Orthodox and Catholic Easter, the Catholic Church participates in today’s ecclesiastical liturgy at the Catholic Cathedral of ‘Duomo’.  There are 12 candles that are lit there. One for each of the 12 Gospels. As the Gospels are being read, the candles are put out in consecutive order. This is a ritual that is unique for the Catholic Cathedral.

GOOD FRIDAY

Your wake-up call today will be funeral bells. Every church will have a somewhat different chime, signifying the grief for Jesus’ death. Little girls will begin adorning the Epitaph early on this day with flowers, plenty of gorgeous white lilies. This is the second most significant day of Greek Orthodox Easter, with church ceremonies honouring Christ’s descent from the cross. The Epitaph being removed from the church and performed with the chorus and philharmonic orchestra is a feature of today’s ceremony. Following the epitaph, the crowd typically round the outside of the church.

The Epitaph
People will be strolling slowly behind the epitaph, holding lit candles. From a distance, children hold little, bright lanterns that make a stunning spectacle.

Every epitaph has a set appearance at a set time and they all come together in the town centre. The road that each epitaph follows is lit up with thousands of candles, signifying the course that the holy ritual will take. The most striking one is the one that leaves the church last and appears in the streets last. Around ten o’clock at night, the Corfu Cathedral’s epitaph will leave the building with a number of philharmonics playing. Each of them contributes their own sombre melody to the

EASTER SATURDAY
The true thing that sets Easter in Corfu apart are the celebrations and traditions of today. The day begins at around six in the morning. An earthquake is acted out at the church dedicated to Virgin Mary “Ksenon,” also known as Virgin Mary of the “strangers.” The exact same earthquake that occurred when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. Naturally, this does not have any Hollywood-style special effects. Sound effects are used to recreate the custom. People will typically be seen on their patios and balconies, clutching large, red clay pots that are filled with water.

They begin tossing them down onto the vacant kept streets just below them after the first Resurrection is declared at around eleven in the morning. It can be extremely loud to hear hundreds of clay pots crashing simultaneously on cobblestone streets, and it’s a great way to stress an earthquake symbolically. People say to one another “Christos Anesti,” which means “Christ has risen,” and “Alithos,” which means “he has truly risen,” in response.
Evening mass at the Catholic Church begins at 10 p.m. and ends around 11 p.m. This is because those who attend the Catholic service can concurrently attend the Orthodox midnight mass, which begins at 11:00 p.m. Important religious holidays have been observed jointly by the two churches while they have coexisted.

This regulation does not change for Easter. Everywhere you turn, there are thousands of lit lanterns and candles. Each person present is holding a white candle, which represents Christ’s Resurrection, which occurs at precisely midnight.

An authentically “Resurrecting Experience” is created by drum rhythms and breathtaking fireworks displays.
Naturally, this is not where the night ends. Families get together around their tables for a large feast that includes delicious cuisine to suit everyone’s palate after the midnight service. This is lamb meat, bread called “Foyatsa,” and a specially prepared soup that is consumed after Lent to allow the stomach to gradually break down the meat.

EASTER SUNDAY


 It’s customary to spend today with family, enjoying loads of food, and upbeat music. After attending the Love church service this morning, the week of “Holy” meaning and grieving seemed to be coming to a wonderful close. a week filled with strong feelings. A week filled with breathtaking sights and noises along Corfu Town’s lovely streets. You will remember this encounter for the rest of your lives since it is undoubtedly so special.

 

 


If you’ve found yourself intrigued by the rich tapestry of Greek Easter customs, perhaps it’s time to delve deeper into the vibrant world of seasonal traditions. Whether you’re drawn to the mesmerizing rituals of dyeing Easter eggs or captivated by the joyous feasts that mark the occasion, there’s a wealth of cultural experiences waiting to be explored.

Embarking on this journey might also ignite a passion for seasonal work in the hospitality industry, where you can immerse yourself in the heart of these traditions. If you’re ready to take the leap and seize the opportunities that await, why not reach out to us at Talent Odyssey? Let’s start a conversation and pave the way for your first step into this dynamic and rewarding field.

Your career is our goal.

Sincerely,

The Talent Odyssey team. 

For more information write us an email.
recruitment@talent-odyssey.com

 

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