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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Chios is a lovely place. It’s a tiny Aegean island just five miles from the coast of Turkey. It’s one of the places reputed to be the birthplace of Homer, and its 11th-century monastery Nea Moni is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit it on our Undiscovered Greece cruise. A really placid, peaceful, soul-nurturing island that — with prodigious paradoxicality — on the night before Easter Sunday looks like this:

That’s because two opposing parishes in the town of Vrodados spend the evening just before Orthodox Easter Sunday firing thousands of homemade rockets at each other’s church — while the more pious among them attend mass inside.

The result looks a lot like warfare. Tens of thousands of missiles — some estimates go as high as 80,000 — fly back and forth through the night sky, leaving streaks not unlike tracer bullets. The projectiles are prepared throughout the year by so-called “gangs” from the two parishes, Saint Mark and Panagia Erithiani. Even though making such rockets is illegal, the authorities mostly turn a blind eye to the fireworks tradition.

Read more on this inspired tradition of celebratory lunacy from Spiegel Online. But really, why would you ever want to read an article on the subject when you can see the entire rocket battle here?

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