It’s no surprise that Corfu will be the most popular Easter vacation location in Greece in 2022.
After being imprisoned throughout the plague, visitors from Athens, Thessaloniki, and every island, hamlet, and town in Greece would flock to Corfu to celebrate Holy Week.
Many people believe that if you only have one chance to visit Corfu in your life, Easter week is the time to go. Many visitors come from abroad to witness Corfu’s natural and cultural splendor in action, as Greek Easter traditions are observed throughout the island.
Palm Sunday marks the start of the Easter season in Corfu, with the procession of Saint Spyridon’s holy body at 11 a.m. It is a 1630 custom commemorating the relief of the island of the Plague, which had taken many victims from the inhabitants of Corfu in 1629.
The parade includes all 15 of the island’s philharmonic bands. At lunch, individuals eat stockfish or haddock with skordalia, which is the traditional food of the day (garlic mash potato).
The “Mántzaros” Philharmonic performs a sad concert on the same evening, masterfully evoking the melancholy tone of the Passion or Holy Week.
Good Monday: The Corfiots go to their local grocery stores to stock up on supplies for the upcoming festivities. Baking odors of “foyátsa” (a type of brioche garnished with a red egg) and “mandoláto” (a lords’ favorite almond and honey macaroon) can be detected in the air!
Good Tuesday: Listen to the story of Mary Magdalene “hymned” in the city churches in the afternoon. Participate in the Old Palace Peristyle’s Music and Poetry Night with the subject “From Golgotha to Resurrection” at around 9.00 p.m.
Good Wednesday: Attend the Holy Unction at midday, then listen to the Municipal Chorus singing ecclesiastical hymns of the Passion Week at 8.30 p.m. in the Municipal Theatre.
The Holy Passion Service is held in the churches on Maundy Thursday. After each of the 12 Gospels is read, 12 lamps are lit and then extinguished one by one in the Duomo, the Catholic Cathedral. The ringing of the first bell on the same day signals that it is time to dye the Easter eggs red, a tradition that represents the return of life and nature.
Good Friday, and everyone on the island is awoken by funeral bells. The Descent of Christ from the Cross is commemorated by ecclesiastical rites. On this day, young girls decorate the Epitaphs, which are circumambulated by choruses and bands beginning early in the afternoon.
At ten o’clock in the evening, the final and most spectacular Epitaph appears. It is the Corfu Cathedral’s Epitaph.
Listen to the music, which gives an ecstatic dimension to this mournful night: the “Old” Philharmonic (Red) performs Albinoni’s Adagio, the “Mántzaros” Philharmonic (Blue) plays Verdi’s Marcia Funebre, and the “Kapodistrias” Philharmonic plays Mariani’s Elegia Funebre and Chopin’s Marche Funèbre.
Easter Saturday- The artificial earthquake, which takes place at 6 a.m. at the church of the Virgin Mary of Ksénon, re-enacts the earthquake that occurred after Christ’s Resurrection. The First Resurrection is announced at 11 a.m.
People greet one another with the phrase “Christós Anésti” (Christ has risen). “Alithós Anésti” is the response (he has truly risen). Prepare to be wowed by a genuine one-of-a-kind celebration: “Christós Anésti” is announced against a backdrop of ringing bells and the joyous sounds of the bands as they parade through the streets.
Clay pots are thrown from balconies and windows, crashing loudly on the streets below.
There is a Catholic Resurrection Mass in Duomo and an Orthodox Resurrection Service at “Páno Plata” at night (Upper Square). Thousands of lit candles will be found on balconies and throughout every street for visitors to see.
The Resurrection of Christ is commemorated with drum beats and fireworks around midnight.
Following the Service, all of the villages and town squares are filled with music, dancing, and celebrations in honor of Christ’s resurrection.