Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter weekend in Corfu

On the night of Good Friday - or Great Friday, as the Greeks call it - it is raining. We join the 'mourners' at the back of the village church. Everyone is given a brown candle. The soft light glows. The priest and his chanters are at the front, where pride of place is Christ's epitafios, covered in red and white carnations.

The service has been going for at least an hour-and-a-half, with people coming and going, small children crying and an American told to be quiet after engaging in idle chit-chat at a time when people are meant to be solemn.

We leave the church, following the epitafios, and wind our way up through the village, the American taking a call on his mobile phone saying he can't speak because he's in a procession and then proceeding to talk for five minutes about someone who is in hospital.
I share Sofia's umbrella as the noisy Yank goes on ahead.
Up at the at the cemetery church, we walk through the door and out through the other side.
We step into the darkness as people say hello to families past and light candles at the graves of long-gone loved ones.
And then the mood changes in Corfu Town the next day. The traditional procession is cancelled because of the rain and the crowds wait around the Liston for the annual pot smashing, something which is unique to Corfu.
Just as a large pot is about to be thrown from the top of the Arcadion Hotel, a balloon seller takes away my view. So here's one of my photos from last year.
Notice that the sky was bluer last Easter. But then it was two weeks later.

It is so busy we've had to park at the port and walk in. We can't get very close so we watch the spectacle from the Spianada. Pots crash and smash all around us, from balconies, on the ground where we are standing and all through the alleyways of Corfu Town.

This great video by Corfu Times really captures the scene.
There is a mad scramble for the best bits of pot - handles, red and gold decorations and such like - and then life goes on as normal.

People crunch through the broken pottery as if it happens every year. Which, indeed, it does.
And then we find a spot in our favourite bar - standing room only, of course - and have a coffee. 

There is the stirring sound of drums, a band marches by and then the sousaphones suddenly strike up as if they know I am filming.
Down at Paleokastritsa, these are the lucky lambs. Still alive, for now.
Friends and relations have met a predictable end. Well, it is Easter.
Tonight, in town there will be candles and fireworks. But probably not the latter in our own village, as a mark of respect to the family of a young man killed in a car accident two weeks ago.

Tomorow, we will join good friends for roast lamb and goat on the spit, crack a few red-dyed, hard-boiled eggs and plough into a host of heavenly desserts.

Easter in Corfu - there's nothing quite like it.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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