Happy Easter The Chios Way. And Killer Bunnies

Nicholas C. Rossis

Vrontado, Chios | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Resurrection Rocket War on Vrontado, Chios. Image: Atlas Obscura

Today, at midnight, Easter is celebrated by both Orthodox and Catholics. I’ve written in the past about Greek Easter customs, mentioning in passing how, in most places, the celebrations include fireworks.

There is one place, however, that takes this to the next level: Vrontados, on the Greek island of Chios. Here, two rival parishes engage in a most unusual and dangerous Easter tradition that has been taking place quite possibly since the Ottoman era. The churches, Agios Marcos (St. Mark) and Panaghia Ereithiani (Holy Mary on Erythai-the ancient name of Vrontados), sit on opposite hillsides about 400 meters away from one another. Every year, they recreate a yearly “Rocket War”, which is exactly what it sounds like.

According to Atlas Obscura, real cannons were used until 1889 in this annual performance, which no one really seems to…

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