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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Barbeque Thursday!!!

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Greek Carnival, the three weeks period before Ash Monday (11th of March for this year), is one of the most characteristic and distinctive festive celebrations, with customs that have their roots in the Dionysian celebrations of ancient Greece. The whole country celebrates joyfully, and Greeks wear costumes and consume large quantities of meat and wine. But most of the meat is consumed during the second week, especially on Thursday, which the Greeks call “Tsiknopempti” (Barbeque Thursday).

 

In Chios, Tsiknopempti is a very festive day!  Barbeques are set up in every corner and smokes and smells of charcoal grilled meat are diffused above the town and villages.

If you happen to be in the city of Chios such a day, take a walk in the streets and be a part of the festive atmosphere. Chians grill outside their houses and their taverns, but also the butchers and the distillers put charcoal grills outside their shops and everyone is welcome to taste hot “souvlaki” or a piece of meat. Of course fat meat is in order! In pastry shops you will find the traditional “kataifi”, the traditional Carnival pastry, plain or stuffed with nuts, or even covered with rich cream. Due to the festive character of the day, in many restaurants you will find live orchestras or DJs.

 

If you still have an appetite for a nice drive in order to enjoy the nature and quietness, visit a village and enjoy your meat in a traditional tavern, accompanied with local cheeses and especially “mizithra”, which is a fresh and creamy cheese with gentle texture. Enjoy your meal combined of course with local wine, ouzo or souma.

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Chios Maritime Museum

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Chios Maritime Museum is established at an impressive neoclassic building at the centre of Chios town (Address: Stefanou Tsouri 20), that was donated by the heirs of Anastasios and Marouko Patera. It aims to promote the long nautical history and tradition of Chios island and the role it has played in the modern shipping industry. Its exhibition includes naïve paintings of ships by the folk painter Aristeidis Glykas from Vrontados, parts and models of ships, photographs and other artefacts of maritime life. A visit there is a must during a walk around Chios Town.

As you enter the garden and yard of Chios Maritime Museum, you cannot miss the monument dedicated to the memory of 328 Chian mariners who were lost at sea during the  World War II. It was created by sculptor Alexandros Kokkinos. It is made from stainless steel and the 328 names are engraved on it.

Chios Maritime Museum has a library with a collection of books, brochures and documents about maritime themes. It was donated to the museum by journalist E. Batis and the collection is still growing, thanks to donations. The Museum organizes lectures, conferences and educational programs for children. It is also available for hosting events. Usually during the summer, it hosts a couple of very interesting music events, such as Chios Music Festival concerts.

After you finish your tour at Chios Maritime Museum, don’t forget to stop by the cute gift shop, where you can find handmade ceramics, t-shirts and print outs of paintings and Chios engravings.

Opening hours

9:00 – 13:00  (1 November – 30 April) & 9:00 – 14:00 (1 May – 31 October) . Closed on Sundays and official holidays (Open on the Sundays of August: 09:00 - 14:00)

General entrance: 2,50€ - Students and children: 1,50€ - For Schools and Students in Chios: free

Contact information

Tel: (+30) 22710 44139, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website Chios Maritime Museum

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Click here, to visit the website of the former Prefecture of Chios.

Chios.gr is the official tourism web site for Chios, run by the North Aegean Prefecture, where you'll find information on the main tourist destinations, beaches, as well as activities, events and much more!

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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