Thousands of locals and visitors gathered in the centre of the town of Corfu on Saturday to witness the annual ritual of pot smashing.
This island tradition is that every Holy Saturday at noon Corfiots who have decorated their windows with red flowers and badges throw huge clay pots filled with red ribbons from their windows.
The symbolism is to create an “earthquake” that is like the one that occurred following Christ’s resurrection from his tomb.
As soon as the church bell sounds, it’s a signal for every man, woman and child to hurl their earthenware vessels from their windows and onto the streets.
While the tradition originated in Corfu, surrounding villages have joined in the fun.
The noisy custom derived from the Venetians, who on New Year’s Day, would throw their old things from the windows in the hopes of receiving new ones for the next year.
The Corfiots adopted the tradition, applying it to the most important day in their calendar: Greek Easter. Somewhere along the way, old goods have been replaced by pots and jugs of water, which make for an even louder noise upon impact.
It is even thought that the peculiar custom may have roots in the biblical passage “Thou, O Lord, raise me up, that I may crush them as a potter’s vessel.”
There might also be lineage to the beginning of plantation season, when newly harvested produce was stored in new pots, and the old ones were destroyed.