EASTER IN CORFU
It is widely known that Corfu is the best place to spend the Easter Holidays. The island is extremely crowded during that period of the year since there are a lot of festivities as well as traditions and customs that should not be missed.
The Sunday right before the Holy Week is known as Palm Sunday. The procession of the Holy body of Corfu’s protector Saint Spyridon – in which all the Corfiot Philharmonic bands take part – starts at 11 o’clock.
Saint Spyridon is known as the Keeper of the City (Poliouhos in Greek) and Palm Sunday is dedicated to him for the miracle of expelling the plague from the island. After the procession, Corfiots enjoy their lunch, which is traditionally stock fish or haddock with garlic-tasting mash potatoes.
Holy Week Traditions
On Good Monday, everybody in Corfu town is making fogatsa, which is a kind of brioche. Several concerts of the Philharmonic orchestras take place too.
On Good Tuesday in the evening, the churches chant the byzantine hymn of Kassiani.
On Good Wednesday people attend the Holy Unction.
On Maundy Thursday everybody is doing the last preparations for the celebration of Easter and rehearsals of the Philharmonic Orchestras. This is also the day of the 12 Gospels and the Last Supper. People experience with great respect the drama of Jesus’s Crucifixion.
On Good Friday, churches are crowded with people for the ceremony of the Descent of Christ from the Cross and the circumambulation of the dead Christ on a white sheet in an emotional atmosphere. Early in the afternoon, the processions take place in the city and in the villages, too. From 14:00 until around midnight, tens of epitaphs walk around accompanied by philharmonic orchestras, choirs, schools, children, scouts, etc. The last procession of Corfu Cathedral starts at 22:00 and it is the most impressive of all. This Epitaph with the presence of the Holy Clergy and the Authorities of the island gives an ecstatic dimension to this mournful night. The Philharmonic Society of Corfu performs Albinoni’s Adagio, the Philharmonic Society “Mantzaros” performs Verdi’s Marcia Funebre and the Philharmonic Union of Kapodistrias’ plays Mariani’s Elegia Funebre and Chopin’s Marche Funebre.
On Easter Sunday, early in the morning several processions take place in both Corfu town and in the suburbs. For lunch, people have it as a tradition to eat lamb.