On the Greek island of Chios the locals have a tradition to fire up (literally) the Easter celebration by holding the famous Vrontados “Rocket War” for years. However, this Easter locals of the Vrontados village decided to call a “truce.”
The rocket war (Rouketopolemos in Greek) takes place between two local churches during the divine liturgy of Holy Saturday night, when the priest chants “Christ is Risen.”
According to astraparis.gr the decision was taken by the two “battling” parishes of Panaghia Erithiani and Aghios Markos, after two village residents appealed to the police and judicial authorities and threatened with lawsuits if rockets were launched again this year.
“We did everything we could to secure the safety of their homes and to convince them,” said president of the local community of Vrontados Markos Kosmas. “But they won’t back down on their decision. The rocket throwers are mostly family people and they will not risk being chased by police and end up in court,” he added.
Up until last year the rocket throwers of the two parishes were firing tens of thousands of homemade rockets at each other’s church, while the more pious locals were inside attending mass. The two churches are about 400 meters away from each other. The objective is to hit the bell tower of the church of the other side. The rockets are wooden sticks loaded with an explosive mixture containing gunpowder and they are launched from grooved platforms.