Celebration & Festivities in Corfu
In Corfu, throughout the year, there are many celebrations and festivities and cultural events that take place. These include the following:
Although Patra’s Carnival is very famous in Greece, the Carnival in Corfu is considered to be a unique experience. With the beginning of the Carnival and for the next three Sundays, there are parades of the masqueraders and a very cheerful climate in the capital of the island while the Venetian masqueraders can be seen all over town with their impressive costumes turning back the time somewhere in the 18th century. On Tsiknopempti, the Thursday before the second Sunday of the Carnival, people go to the tavernas and have meat for dinner while celebrating with songs and dances. In Corfu town, Petegoletsa take place, which are kind of a theatrical, comical play in which the neighbors go out in their windows, gossip and tell hilarious stories, resembling the commedia dell’ arte. On the last Sunday of the Carnival, Mr. Carnival parades and after the parade according to custom, he is burned in order for all evil to be burned before his will is read to the public.
The Carnival takes place every year in February or March as it is a moveable feast.
Easter in Corfu is the famous Easter in Greece and people come from all around the world in order to experience it. It starts on Palm Sunday, at 11:00, with the procession of the Holy relics of Saint Spyridon, a procession which is accompanied by all the philharmonic bands of Corfu.
On Palm Sunday Corfu is celebrating a miracle performed by the Protector of the island, Saint Spyridon, which led to plague being banished from the island.
On Good Monday all the bakeries in Corfu town bake the traditional fogatsa, which is a tradition deriving from the Venetian era. During the rest of the days of the Holy Week people go to the church to witness the drama of the Christ’s Crucifixion. Good Friday is the day with the most processions, which take place in Corfu town and in the villages. The last of the processions starts at 22:00 from Metropolis and it is the longest of them all. The Philharmonic bands which accompany the procession perform the Adagio, Marcia Funebre, Elegia Funebre and Marche Funebre, in a very emotional and grieving atmosphere.
On Holy Saturday dawn, at the church of Virgin Mary of Xenon in Plakada square, the representation of the earthquake occurs while at 11:00 the crowd is gathered around the heart of Corfu town, in Liston and Spianada square to witness the tradition of the throwing of the pots (botides in Greek), which is famous all around the world. For some this old tradition signifies the Resurrection of the Christ, for others it is end of all the meanness and the beginning of something new. In the night, the Resurrection sequence starts at 23:00 and with the first “Christ is risen” countless fireworks decorate the sky as Orthodoxy is celebrating one of the most important moments in history. The Philharmonic bands perform now joyful melodies and parade in the center of the island.
Easter takes place in April or May every year as it is a moveable feast.
Apart from Palm Sunday, when His miracle is celebrated for banishing plague from the island, there are other important dates when we pay our respects for the miracles that He performed.
On the Holy Saturday, the procession is dedicated to Saint Spyridon because he saved the inhabitants of the island from the famine, on the 13th of July the church recalls His miracle through which Theodoros’ got back his sight, while with the procession of the 11th of August, we express our gratitude to Him, for protecting the island and not letting the Ottoman Empire to siege Corfu.
On the first Sunday of November the procession is dedicated to Saint Spyridon for saving the island for the second time from the plague.
Last but not least, on the 12 of December, the whole island celebrates the Protector and Keeper of the city.