Although Easter is the biggest celebration of the Greek Orthodox church in Greece and is celebrated with great solemnity and respect for tradition and customs, you will enjoy a unique experience on Corfu. An experience that attracts many people who arrive on the island to experience up close a special Corfiot celebration.
The locals call it Radiant Easter or Radiance. It is a day of happiness and enjoyment following the 7 previous weeks of fasting. Choral music, whose roots date back to 17th century Crete, can be heard in the back streets of the Old Town even today.
The celebrations start on Palm Sunday with the procession of the relics of St. Spyridon -the patron saint of Corfu- a ceremony commemorated since 1630. It is a litany with the biggest procession and the only time all 18 philharmonic bands play on the island. At night the usual concert by the "Mantzaros" Philharmonic Society introduces the public to the solemn atmosphere of Holy Week at the Municipal Theatre.
One of the most important days is Holy Thursday when the Duomo in Town Hall Square lights 12 candles which are put after, one by one, reading each Gospel. On Good Friday, the churches fill up with worshipers before midday for the ceremony of the Descent of the Lord and the procession of the dead Jesus. In the afternoon, the procession of the epitaph starts at the church through the back streets of the Old Town. We suggest you follow the epitaph to the Cathedral where the Old Philharmonic (in red) plays the Albinoni's Adagio, "Mantzaros" (in blue) plays Verdi's Marcia Funebre and "Kapodistrias" plays the Elegia Funebre and Chopin's Funeral March.
On Saturday morning, with the first Lord's Resurrection, the bells ring out joyfully and jugs of water are dropped from the windows of houses in Liston, a custom that attracts crowds to see the spectacle.
The Resurrection procession continues to the Upper Square, in the presence of the bishop and Authorities of the island. After the Resurrection at night on Holy Saturday, the philharmonic bands parade the town playing cheerful marches and spreading the good message of the Resurrection of the Lord.