Some towns celebrate Easter with candlelit parades; the more secular among us might settle for a chocolate egg from Londis.
But one town in Greece marks the occasion properly: with an epic fucking firework war, called simply ROUKETOPOLEMOS! [Photo: Lucky Trip]
Each year in Vrontrados, Chios, two churches on opposing hilltops commemorate the life, sacrifice and surprise end-credits scene of Jesus by launching a lethal-looking amount of fireworks at each other. It’s everything your teachers taught you not to do, and I love it.
Like so many dangerous feuds, the exact origin of the inter-parish rivalry is lost to the mists of time, but the tradition persists nonetheless. At 8pm on Easter Sunday, two rival teams of daredevil young blokes (I don’t want to be sexist but this is definitely ‘classic lad’ territory isn’t it) light tens of thousands of rockets, pointed directly at each other.
The nominal object, other than generating an overriding sense of awesomeness, is technically to hit the bell tower of the opposing church.
Inevitably, this happens with such frequency that the final score is beyond calculation, and both sides agree to a rematch the following year, so as to continue the beautiful, bonkers tradition.
For the visitors who flock to the town to behold the spectacle, there are two vantage points to choose from. A nearby peak offers a panoramic view of the pyrotechnics, well clear of any danger. Alternatively, for those brave enough, Rouketopolemos can be enjoyed from one of the churches themselves, providing the unmatched thrill of rockets flying directly towards one’s face.
Good times, good times. Watch the full video here:
Get there: fly to Athens, then take a 50-minute connecting flight directly to Chios.
Travel time approx 6h35hm, round trip cost approx. £400.