Get prepared for a lifetime experience in the island of Corfu!
Stunning natural beauty, multi-layered culture and exuberant music are only some of the reasons Corfu is known for and worth the visit. However, there is one time of the year where the true soul of the island comes forward and deserves the spotlight. And that is the glorious Corfiot Easter during our majestic Spring. Here are 10 reasons why you should experience it at least once in your life.
1) It is a great celebration in which the Orthodox Christian faith coexists harmoniously with the Catholic community, the Venetian influence, the music and nature in full bloom. You will experience Easter with religious devoutness as you may attend a number of liturgies, epitaphs, events and ceremonies, which start on Lazarus Saturday and end on Easter Tuesday with the chantings of St. Spyridon.
2) Corfu celebrates along with the great feast of Palm Sunday the remembrance of the miracle of its patron saint, Saint Spyridon, which saved the island from the plague epidemic in 1630. For this reason, after the end of the Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, a large litany is held at 11:00 am throughout the old town of Corfu with the participation of all the philharmonic orchestras of the island (18 in total), the guides, the scouts, the choir and the schools of the city.
3) Holy Week has a special vibe throughout the island. The central parts of Corfu are "dressed" in purple lighting symbolizing the mourning of Passion Week accompanied by the wonderful scent of lilac flowers. The city of Corfu will impress you with its unique customs, but do not neglect to visit our villages. There you will experience our majestic spring nature in all its glory under the light of the golden sun.
4) On Holy Thursday at 9:00 pm visit the cantons of the city center to witness up close the general rehearsal of the city Philharmonic where all participants are practicing the mourning tunes performed on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Be sure that these melodies will touch your soul forever.
5) On Good Friday, early in the afternoon, the epitaphs of the parishes begin their procession through almost every canton of the city, culminating in the Epitaph of the Diocese at 10 pm. There you will experience in the most ritualistic way the absolute mourning for Christianity, listening to the mournful sounds of "Adagio" by Albinoni from the Old Philharmonic, "Marcia Funebre" by Verdi from F.E. Mantzaros and Mariani "Sventura" by F.E. Kapodistrias.
6) On Holy Saturday, Corfu wakes up early, initially at 6 am with the custom of the representation of the earthquake that followed the Resurrection of the Lord. This ceremony takes place in the impressive Ionian style three-aisled royal Church of Panagia ton Xenon. A little later on, around 9, the procession of the Great Epitaph of Saint Spyridon commences.
7) You will experience up close the impressive and noisy custom of the "botides" at the First Resurrection at 11am, according to which the people of Corfu throw jugs from their balconies to cast away evil spirits. After the breaking of the jugs, the Philharmonic Orchestras roam the streets of the city playing the triumphant march "Do not be afraid of the Greeks".
8) On Holy Saturday around midnight is the Resurrection of Christ ceremony. After the Sequence that takes place in the Spianada Park with the participation of the Metropolitan, the Authorities, thousands of people and of course the Philharmonic of the city, the Corfiot sky is illuminated with wonderful and spectacular fireworks, celebrating the triumphant victory of Jesus Christ. This sight becomes even more powerful if you watch it from one of the surrounding houses of the Upper Square. The thousands of candles lights from the faithful shine from above like stars.
9) On Easter Sunday Corfu wakes up early again. The Procession of the Resurrected Epitaphs in Corfu Town starts at 7 am, gathering also those who return to their hometown on Holy Saturday morning, having made the overnight trip as promised to Saint Spyridon. In their honor the Philharmonic Orchestras play a tribute in front of them in Liston square after the procession of the Resurrection of the Saint. Resurrection parades also take place around the villages of the island, some of which on the Second day of Easter.
10) Finally, all visitors of Corfu for the Holy Days of Easter will not only experience the special celebrations from day to night, but also savor the gastronomic delights of the island as they have the opportunity to indulge in all the local traditional products and delicacies. Have a taste of the traditional Corfiot cuisine, the tsilihourda (traditional Corfiot Easter dish) in the evening after the Resurrection, and the eggnog (soup) that accompanies the Sunday Corfiot table on Easter Sunday. Also, try the kolombines (a kind of Christmas bread) and the fogatsa (Corfiot Easter bun).
Easter is both a great religious holiday and also the most beautiful time of the year due to the generous gifts of Spring. All these rich traditional events and celebrations preserve the special identity of our island making an experience of a lifetime. Mayor Hotels would be privileged to accommodate that special stay for you.