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GREECE: EASTER AT CORFU, the greatest festivity of the Greek-Orthodox Church

Panos Dimisianos 2008-04-26

Image:Panos Dimisianos

Easter, the greatest festivity of the Greek-Orthodox Church, is celebrated with particular reverence all over Greece. In Corfu the festivities of Easter are unique. Corfiot Easter - the customs are half common with the rest of Greek places and half different due to the influences of the long Venetian era ( more than 4 centuries )...

MOVIE by Panos Dimisianos

The circumambulation of the Epitaphs on the streets, alleys and squares in Corfu, accompanyed by the philarmonics.

Sunday of the Palms
At 11.00 in the morning of Palm Sunday, the litany of the Holy Shrine of Saint Spyridon takes place, a procession which holds since 1630, in commemoration of the deliverance of the island from the spread of the deadly plague, which took the lives of many Corfiots in 1629.
This litany is the largest in size and length and circumambulates the city on the trail of the old Venetian city-walls, with many stoppages on the way for prayers and entreaties. It is the only litany that all 18 Philharmonics of the island participate to honor the Patron Saint of Corfu.
It is the custom after the end of the litany, all the Philharmonics to parade through the old city center playing cheerful marches.
On the same night at 8.30 in the Municipal Theater the concert of the 'Mantzaros' Philharmonic takes place with solemn music, which introduces us in the mood of the

Passion Week
Holy week From the next day, Monday before Easter, the Corfiots start shopping for Easter. The sweet smell of ‘Fogatsa', ‘Mandolato' and ‘Colombina' (all local sweet specialties) is sensed all around the city. In the afternoon the bells of the churches ring to call the congregation for the Service.

On Tuesday before Easter the famous “Kassiani motet” is heard in the churches and at 9.00 in the evening in the Peristyle of the Old Palace the "Organization of Corfiot Activities" (OKE) stages the Musical and Poetic Night with the theme: "From Golgotha to Resurrection".

On Wednesday evening before Easter at 8.30 p.m. the people are filling up the Municipal Theater to hear the Municipal Chorus singing ecclesiastical hymns of the Passion Week with chorals from the East and the West.

On Maundy Thursday the Service of the Holy Passion is attended by the Corfiots in the churches.
In the Catholic Cathedral, Duomo, they light up 12 candles and put out one-at-a-time after the hearing of each of the "12 Gospels". On the same day with the first bell-ring the red Easter-eggs are dyed, eternal symbol of the renewal of life and nature.


Panos Dimisianos
4th Lykeion of Corfu/Greece

"Mantzaros" Philharmonic

Image:Panos Dimisianos


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