Orthodox Easter is creeping up on us, and with it, our excitement is growing at the prospect of tasting some of that awesome magiritsa once again. The soup made out of lamb entrails, rice and lemon and egg is an absolute showstopper (or it may just be me and my prejudiced palate) round these dates. But I digress.
Orthodox Easter is celebrated all around Greece traditionally, with the lamb(s) being skewered over a fire for several hours, with wine and dance and everything that you’d expect a Greek shindig to have. Including smashing of objects.
And in Corfu, they do just that. In a tradition that harks back to as far as the venetians who once occupied this island, pots and vases are thrown from balconies to signal the start of the party.
The Venetians were the ones who introduced this, as it was during New Years eve that they threw away their old stuff in the hope of getting new things for the new year. This tradition somehow got passed on to the Greeks who engaged in a spot of cultural appropriation to reinvent this festival of noise and breakage. Back in the Venetian days people threw old things of all kinds. Now, people throw jugs, vases and pots full of water on to the street in what tends to be a carnivalesque affair that adds to its theatricality.
The festivities begin on Palm Sunday with the litany of Saint Spiridon taking place, accompanied by the Philharmonic orchestra all around town. The real zinger comes on Good Friday as the procession of the Epitaph commences at mid day with several epitaphs such as the Panagia Spiliotissa and the Pantokrator at Kampeio as well as the Catholic Diocese (Catholic and orthodox Easter is synchronized in Corfu).
Of course, its worth mentioning that a lot of the enjoyment derives from the positively breathtaking architecture that the venetians bequeathed on the island. Walking around the old harbor with its rustic buildings and old church domes is truly magical, and that feeling increases as you stroll through the cobblestone plazas dotted with cafes in every sidewalk. Listening to the Philarmonica only adds to your sensory stimulation. Couple that with the smell of spring and presto! You’re all in on Corfu.