Easter in Corfu-Holy Saturday
You have to wake up early to catch the customs of this day! At 06.00am (I know it’s cruel) there is the custom of the representation of the earthquake described in the Bible! It takes place at Panagia Ton Ksenon church, with the believers hit the wooden stands of the church.
3 hours later (come on, now you are wake, aren’t you?) you may see the Epitafios of Agios Spiridonas again. The area around the church will be packed with people though so be patient. In 1574 the Venetians, for safety reasons, prohibited the Orthodox to the epitaph procession on Good Friday and allowed only the procession of the Holy Saturday. So the locals do it together with the litany of Agios Spiridonas that in this litany has the Bishop’s place. It’s definitely the most evocative litany and while it crosses the streets the people through flowers from their windows (pic 1) while the orchestra plays the sad tune of Faccio’s Amlet., Micheli’s Marcia Funebre etc
At 11.00am you may go to the old commercial center and see another custom, the custom of Mastela. It’s huge barrel (pic 2) full of water. Everyone that passes from there throws coins inside and when the bells announce the first Anastasi(Resurrection) someone dives inside and takes the money! :) We could be there as we wanted to watch another custom though.
While the church bells beat joyfully you can also watch the most popular custom of the local easter, the botides. First of all check the balconies, if you see some of them decorated like in pic 3 with purple clothes stand away from there! It means they will throw the botides (clay pots, small or huge) full of water on the street! The best spot to enjoy this is at the beginning of Liston at the open square. Of course thousands of visitors will be there with you :) So, when the bells will be heard the people will start throw the mpotides (pic 4), some of them are really huge and the splash is impressive. The police try to keep the people in safety distance of course. After some minutes you may go and keep a piece of the broken pots as the locals do, it suppose to bring you good luck for the rest of the year. The Venetians used to do this during new years eve when they were throwing old items hoping the new year will bring new ones (try it at home with your old laptop, hahaha) See my video here
After the breaking, the philharmonic orchestras play allegro tunes, check pic 5 to see how crowded it gets that time! It’s like a huge demonstration (that we love in Greece anyway)