August 15th on Chios Island, Greece

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On August 15th, Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Virgin’s Dormition. The Feast of Dormition is also known as “the summer’s Easter”, signifying the importance of the feast and the holiday. At the peak of the summer holidays, this celebration is an opportunity for families and friends to come together and for visitors of the island to experience traditional events and local dishes at the “panigiria” that take place at the villages. At the same time, during August, a lot of cultural events take place, offering many options for fun and entertainment.  

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Holy Week and Easter on Chios Island

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Easter holidays have officially begun and our daily routine is adapted accordingly. The Holy Week on Chios island is determined by the fast, the Easter celebration preparations and, of course, the visit to church.

Observing the Holy Week liturgies is a must for a lot of people on the island, given that Easter is the most important celebration of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Holy Week liturgies can be impressive, moving and very spiritual. If you are looking for an authentic experience of Greek Easter, Chios island will spoil you for choice. Participating in a Holy Week liturgy in one of the ancient monasteries of the island, or in one of the castle villages of mastiha, is an unforgettable experience.

Holy Thursday in Nea Moni monastery of Chios

Nea Moni is the 11th century Byzantine monastery and UNESCO world heritage monument on Chios island. On Holy Thursday, the day Jesus’ crucifixion takes place, the congregation gathers to listen to the reading of the twelve gospels under candlelight, the imposing dome and the famous golden mosaics of the church dedicated to Virgin Mary’s dormition.

Holy Friday in Chios Town and the Mastiha villages

On Good Friday the Epitaphs in every church are decorated with fresh fragrant flowers. It is customary for locals to visit several parishes in order to admire their Epitaphs and pay their respects.

On Good Friday Evening the Epitaph procession of the town’s Cathedral takes place, accompanied by the Chios Philarmonic and a military group. The procession arrives at the town square where it is met by Epitaphs from other town parishes, creating an imposing spectacle. The Epitaph procession at the Castle of Chios is also very moving, as it passes through the narrow Castle alleys. Often the procession passes by Chios port at the time the ferry arrives, allowing for passengers and crew to disembark in order to pay their respects.

Following the Epitaph procession at one of the villages of Mastiha is a unique experience. From Vessa and Olympoi to Pyrgi and Mesta, whichever village you choose to visit on this day, it is certain that you will have an unforgettable experience.  

Holy Saturday at the Rouketopolemos (Rocketwar) of Vrontados

This is the main event of Easter in Chios. In Vrontados, at the north of the town, the two largest parishes, Panagia Erythiani and Agios Markos revive an old tradition. At Easter night they light hand-made rockets, signifying the victory of life over death and creating the most glorious spectacle of Greek- Orthodox Easter you have ever experienced.

Happy Easter to everyone!

* Thanks to Politis newspaperChiosphotos.gr and Tolis Flioukas for their photos.

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Glorious Greek Easter on Chios Island

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Like every year, Chios, the fragrant North Aegean Island, is the ultimate Greek Easter destination, mostly because of the Rocketwar event, but for other reasons too!

The rocketwar was and still is the most important event of Easter celebrations on Chios island. Locals from the two largest parishes of Vrontados village, namely Panagia Erithiani and Agios Markos, participate in a traditional event that dates back to the ottoman era. The locals make handmade fireworks called rockets which are fired between the two opposing parishes, in a mock up war that lights the night sky on Good Saturday.

However, we can have many more experiences in springtime Chios, as we discover hidden corners of the island during the Easter Holidays:

Spring is pure magic in Kampos. We may choose to stay in a local traditional mansion. We can visit Citrus Museum to learn more about the history of the citrus fruits commerce in Chios. We will walk across citrus gardens in full blossom, cycle in the narrow alleys of Kampos and go on a gastronomy tour of the area to try local delicacies, such as spoon sweets and other traditional products.

We can visit Chios monasteries, starting with Nea Moni, an 11th century Byzantine Monastery and a UNESCO Monument of World Heritage, where we can admire the famous mosaics, a prominent example of the Constantinople School of the time. Nea Moni also operates as a church where you can follow one of the liturgies of the Holy Week. We will hike on the path between Nea Moni and Agioi Pateres Monasteries, and then tour the medieval traditional settlements of Anavatos and Avgonyma where we can enjoy delicious traditional food at the local taverns.

On Good Friday we visit Chios Castle. From the picturesque church of St. George we follow the Epitaph process to Chios Town square, where an imposing event takes place, as epitaphs from various parishes of town gather. This is a night that lives up to the day’s solemnity: epitaphs decorated with all the flowers of Chios spring and moving byzantine psalms. Alternatively, we can follow the Epitaph procedure at one of the Mastiha villages of the south, such as Mesta or Olympoi.

In Vrontados, on Good Saturday the Rocketwar event takes place, as the handmade rockets are fired between the two parishes, signifying the start of the spring and the most glorious Easter celebration. However, apart from Vrontados, bear in mind that all liturgies of the Holy Week all over Chios Island are loud and noisy, but the smell of fireworks is an essential ingredient of the Easter atmosphere.

After the Resurrection liturgy on Good Saturday, we can enjoy the traditional mageiritsa in one of the local restaurants or hotels. On Easter Sunday a lot of local taverns and restaurants offer traditional goat or lamb and other traditional dishes, which we can accompany with local wine, ouzo or souma.  

On Easter Monday, it is customary to go on an excursion in the countryside, while celebrations with traditional music and dancing take place in a few villages.

This year, like every year, Chios is the ultimate Easter island destination, with so many choices of unforgettable experiences.

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Contact: Regional Unit Of Chios Department of Tourism | Phone numbers: 0030 22713-50514 & 0030 22713-50516 | FAX: 0030 22713-50517 | Emailtourismos@chios.pvaigaiou.gov.gr