Greece: Easter Rocket Wars on the Island of Chios

Greek Easter on the island of Chios is a once in a lifetime experience; it typifies the spontaneity, passion and deep-rooted traditions of the country I came to love last year. Greek Easter itself is deeply moving.  At midnight, in the middle of service, the lights in the church are turned off and one by one candles are lit to signify the rising of Christ.  Fireworks are then launched as people exuberantly exclaim Χριστός Ανέστη or Christ Has Risen and then a full procession proceeds outside the Church. Yet, Chios has taken this tradition to a whole new level. It’s the only place on earth where people not only decide to launch rockets at a rival church, but turn it into a competition on the holiest day of the year all the while services are taking place. I’d heard great things about the Chios Easter tradition when I lived in Athens.  But I had no idea how truly wonderful it could be to be in the middle of a rocket war at midnight, witnessing a city so dedicated to such an unusually intense albeit spectacular tradition. I can’t recommend Chios more highly.  Go drink some good drink wine, eat lamb at a taverna and experience the craziest and best Easter of all times.

Written by Amelia VanderLaan

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