Easter with “Botides” and Orchestras... in Corfu
At the "Island of Feakes", Corfu, the days of Easter are actually special. The events here begin on Palm Sunday with the procession of the relics of St. Spyridon, around 11 in the morning, accompanied by the Philharmonic orchestras of the island and many believers, local and foreign, who participate following the “line”, where once, were the “protective” city walls. This large procession is kept since 1630, in commemoration of the exemption of the city from the plague.
In the same afternoon, in the Church of St. George, at Palio Frourio, at the fort with its impressive bastions, we will witness a Concert of music and Hymns of Holy Week.
On Good Wednesday, we will listen to the Ecclesiastical Music Concert by the Municipal Choir. The feature of Easter in Corfu is the choral church music, which is poured from the temples in the alleyways of the town (it came from Crete in the 17th century and is known as "Cretan music").
On Good Friday, the processions of the Epitaphs start in the afternoon, to give time to orchestras to accompany all the churches. The Philharmonic orchestras of Corfu contribute in the creation of a devout atmosphere. Around 9.30 in the evening, all Epitaphs together meet the Epitaph of the Cathedral.
The morning of Holy Saturday (06.00 am) takes place, in the Church of Our Lady of Xeni, the "Representation of the earthquake" which, as it is described in the Gospel, took place during the Resurrection of Christ. In 09.00 takes place the new procession of the Epitaph of Saint Spyridon’s church (which is to commemorate the miracle of the saint, who, in 1553, saved the island from famine).
Around 11.00, after the "first Resurrection", Corfu is converted into a "bombed" city, as from the balconies of the houses with the red sails, people throw jugs with water, the "Botides”. This is a custom of ancient origin, which is symbolizing the first resurrection (clearance) of souls.
In another version, the Corfu people appropriated this custom from the Venetians, who, in the New Year’s Day (the largest feast of Catholics), get rid of their old items, throwing them out of the window, so the New Year to bring them new. After the breaking of “Botides”, the orchestras of Corfu are wandering in the alleyways with joyful songs.
In the alleys of the city, in Spianada and Kampielo, happy voices are echoing and the whole town celebrates in its own unique way until late in the afternoon, when everyone is looking for a little rest with an aromatic coffee in the quaint cafes at Kanoni, overlooking Vlacherna Monastery and the known Pontikonissi island, to get strength for the evening of the Resurrection.
Shortly before midnight of Holy Saturday, we will make an appointment in “Esplanada”, the historic town’s square, to live a spectacular Resurrection in the church of Agia Paraskevi in Pano Plateia, with lots of fireworks, bands and choirs that signify the uniqueness of Easter in Corfu.
The feast has just begun and it will last until morning. The table is full with festive “tsilichourda” (local soup), red eggs, columbines (breads in pigeon shape) and plenty of wine.
On Easter Sunday, from 07.00 to 10.00, the churches that have the icon of the Resurrection make its procession in the main streets.
Unlike the rest of Greece, the twinge of lamb in Corfu appeared in the recent years and is not a part of its delivery. Here, at noon of Easter, people eat eggs and lemon soup and they leave lamb for Monday. Also, they stick the shells of the broken red egg on the houses’ doors or they throw them to the fields to have a blessed harvest.
Easter in Corfu is a unique experience not to be forgotten... It is worth enjoying it this year with your friends..
Photos: Stamatis Katapodis
For your stay in Corfu, you can book a room in one of the hotels and Bed & Breakfast inns.
In Corfu town, as well as in many other areas of Corfu , there are hotels and accommodations of various categories and types (rooms to let, residences, Bed & Breakfast inns, studios, hostels, guesthouses and furnished apartments) that can satisfy every visitor's demands and needs for a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
You will find wonderful hotels, rooms and apartments to let of all categories and price ranges.
Below, you can see a list of hotels and lodgings for staying in the area and selected accommodation's 'offers and deals' as well as various options for low-cost holidays.
Access to Corfu is through Igoumenitsa by ferry. In Corfu the road network is good and having your own car is necessary to explore the island.
The connection with Igoumenitsa port starts at 4pm and ends at 10am. In summertime departures are very often (every 15 min.) from Igoumenitsa. Trip duration is 1h and 45min.
To get to Igoumenitsa with direction to Corfu, you can follow the following routes:
From Athens: 440 km
From Thessaloniki: 320 km
From Patra: 250 km
There are regular routes to Athens through Igoumenitsa. Trip duration is 8 hours and to Thessaloniki is 8 hours also.
Access to Corfu is possible also by plane through regular flights from Athens or through charter flights.
For your convenience, you can use the route map on the field “Routes” with information about the mileage, the time you need and the route you will follow, selecting the points of interest.