This year however, Easter is later than in recent years, falling on the 1st of May. This will make it so much easier for anyone wanting to experience this wonderful celebration as the direct flights to Corfu airport will have started and all the hotels and villa companies will be up and running.
The Corfiots however have made it their own, by parading the holy body of Saint Spyridon (the islands patron saint) around town with much pomp and ceremony.
It is a custom dating back to 1630, in memoriam of the relief of the island of the Plague, which, in 1629, had claimed many victims from the people of Corfu.
All 15 philharmonic bands of the island take part in this procession which follows the trail of the old Venetian city walls.
As ever, on Corfu island, particular foods are sacrosanct to the whole proceedings and at lunch people enjoy the traditional dish of the day: stackofisi or cod bianco with Skordalia (garlic-infused mash potatoes).
Good Monday to Thursday see the people of Corfu island shopping for the celebrations to come, cooking for the celebrations to come and in the case of the philharmonic bands, practicing for the celebrations to come.
On Maundy Thursday, the Service of the Holy Passion is held in the churches. In the Duomo, the Catholic Cathedral, 12 candles are lit and put out one at a time after the reading of each of the 12 Gospels.
On the same day, the ringing of the first bell means it is time for the Easter eggs to be dyed red, a custom that symbolises the rebirth of life and nature......
Unless you are under 12, in which case you did it last week at school, and your eggs are by now broken and in the bin after dying everything they touched an immovable, pale rouge to remind your mother what week it is.
How they manage to co-ordinate this extravaganza, given the general inability of the Greek people to agree on anything, amazes me yearly, but it’s damn impressive to watch.
11.00 o’clock sees my particular favourite part of the whole performance, the pot smashing. Nothing can really describe the sights, sounds and atmosphere in Corfu Town at this point; it is a truly unique experience. It’s about 10 minutes of madness and mayhem. How there aren’t more injuries or fatalities is something only St Spyro himself can answer, as huge pots, made for this purpose, are hurled out of the highest windows of the majestic venetian buildings that epitomise the islands capital.
I have heard several interpretations of this noisy yet spectacular habit, it possibly bears the influence of the Venetians who would throw old objects out of their window on New Year’s Day, so that the New Year would bring them lots of new things. It has been said it could be either a representation of the stoning of Judas Iscariot or the breaking open of Christ’s tomb. Another, more likely, explanation is that the custom is of pagan origins. By smashing things and making loud noises the Ancient Greeks wanted to wake up Persephone, the goddess of spring, and accelerate the coming of spring. Whatever the origins, this sight definitely belongs on your ‘bucket list’.
This is a fantastic time of year to visit, if you have ever wanted to take part in an authentic festival and experience the true spirit of the Greeks I would whole heartedly reccommend joining us this year and combining a fantastic villa holiday on Corfu with this unique week long celebration.