Easter in Corfu: A Unique Tradition of Smashing Pots

Corfu Easter travel

Easter in Corfu is a truly special event, and one of its most distinctive traditions is the smashing of pots (or "botides") on Holy Saturday at 11:00 am. This custom, with its rich history dating back to the Venetian era, draws crowds of people to the narrow streets of the old town to witness this unique spectacle that marks the First Resurrection.

The Tradition of Botides

Botides are earthenware jugs with a narrow neck and two handles on the sides for carrying. The balconies are adorned, and the residents tie red ribbons to the botides - red being the colour of Corfu - and fill them with water to make noise when they fall.

As the clamour of the botides dies down, the philharmonic bands take to the streets, playing joyous music this time - the anthem "Don't Be Afraid, Greeks" prevails, sending the message of the First Resurrection.

Origins of the Custom

There are two main theories about the origins of this custom:

  • Venetian Catholic Tradition: Some believe the custom originated with the Catholics of the Venetian era, where at the beginning of the year, residents would throw away their old belongings to make way for new and better ones. The Corfiots adopted the custom but replaced the old items with jugs to create a louder commotion.
  • Ancient Greek Ritual: The second theory points to the period of the ancient Greeks, who celebrated the start of the agricultural and growing season in April by throwing away their old jugs and filling new ones with fresh produce.

Significance of the Tradition

Regardless of its exact origins, Corfiots firmly believe that the smashing of botides wards off evil, marking the end of winter's hibernation and the rebirth of nature.

Greek Easter in Corfu
Easter in Corfu: A Unique Tradition of Smashing Pots 1

The tradition of botides is a vibrant and symbolic expression of Corfu's rich cultural heritage, blending elements of faith, history, and folklore to create a truly unique and memorable Easter experience.

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