We woke up the day before Easter in high spirits, for we were on the island of Corfu, Greece, where every Easter is preceded by a very strange ceremony. In the past, the Venetians threw their useless junk out their windows on new years day, to get rid of the old and bring in the new. Following the Venetian tradition, the Pagans threw old pots out of their windows to get rid of evil spirits. The Christians threw old pots on Easter, saying it marked a new beginning. Because of all these traditions, the Easter pot throwing ceremony was born, where, on the day before Easter the people of Corfu throw ceramic pots out of their windows, smashing them on the pavement below. This festivity is entirely unique to the island of Corfu. Thousands come to watch. While most of these go to the capitol, called Corfu town, the celebrations are everywhere on the island.
We happened to be in this capitol the day before Easter, and at 10 o'clock we made our way to the town square. The crowd covered the entire area and the surrounding streets. Finally, we found a spot to settle down, and as the already massive crowd grew, it was all I could do to stop people pushing their way into my front-row place. The mass got so big that people had to stand just a foot away from where the pots would fall. Now, we could see people appearing in the balconies with their ceramics, ranging from 6 inches to 4 feet tall. At 11o'clock we heard smashing in the distance and the people on the balconies fired. The small pots came down first in a continuous shower of breaking clay. After a few minutes, someone brought out a 4-foot pot and the low babble of talk rose into a roar.
The people close to the fall zone cowered as the mass of clay fell with an ear-splitting crash. A few people kept on bringing out similarly large pots, all of them painted different shades of red and blue. This kept everyone entertained for another 20 minutes or so, until no one had any more pots to throw. The throng of people started to move, and everyone grabbed shards of the pots as souvenirs. Shop workers appeared to sweep the huge mounds of clay away from their stores and large piles of them were commonly seen along the side of the road. As we walked through the town, these piles became smaller and smaller until we finally reached our marina. Three days later, you could still spot orange colored dust, the last mark of the Easter pot throwing ceremony.
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