The informant, PL, is my boyfriend’s father who is 57 years old. He is from Greece and visits his home island, Corfu, often. He currently lives in the valley of Los Angeles and still holds his Greek heritage true to him. When I asked him if there were any Greek festivals or holiday traditions that were his favorite, he immediately named the Greek Easter tradition that is unique to the island of Corfu.
Interviewer- So tell me about the Easter tradition of Corfu.
PL- Well, every year for Easter we would head down from the village to the main city center known as “Old town” (since the main is also called Corfu as well). At the edge of the city, where it meets the water, my family and I would set up and watch the yearly parade from Spianada Square. At the end of the parade, we would try to get in close to the building that faces the water to see the “finale” of the parade/celebration and watch the people from the apartment balconies toss hundreds of clay vases into the street. It was definitely a sight to see!
Interviewer- Do you know how this tradition started?
PL- I’m not sure why or how it started but it’s been going on for a very long time.
Interviewer- Do you know why they drop the pots or what it meant to represent?
PL- My mom always told me that the pots breaking was supposed to represent evil spirits and misfortune being destroyed and protection from them. The celebration represented Christ rising and new life and hope in general.
The Corfu festival for Easter is a unique example of regional folk tradition incorporated into a global holiday. Upon an internet search, I found that the informant’s interpretation of the tradition was the same as other Corfu citizens. It is also significant that the pots are almost always some shades of red, since the color is a function of symbolism in many cultures, including the Greek. For example, before Easter they dye boiled eggs red, like the blood of Christ. The pots being red also represents the blood of Christ and is likely why the tradition is viewed as a form of protection against evil.