Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"


Every year, two rival parishes on the northern Greek island of Chios fire handmade rockets at each other's bell towers to celebrate Orthodox Easter. (April 19)



Chios Island, Greece - April 19, 2014

1. Wide of rockets being fired

2. Mid of man lighting rockets

3. Various of rockets crossing the night sky

4. Mid of woman lighting rockets

5. Wide rockets crossing the night sky

6. Various of people placing rockets onto rocket launchers

7. Mid of rockets being lit

8. Various of rockets crossing the night sky, and hitting the Agios Markos bell tower


Every year on the evening before Orthodox Easter, the sky above Chios - a northern Greek island close to Turkey - is lit by hundreds of celebratory rockets fired between two rival parishes.

The traditional event is known as "rouketopolemos."

Villagers from the rival parishes of Aghios Markos and Panagia Ereithiani create the handmade rockets in their own homes and shops.

The two rival villages compile the rockets into large salvos, which are then aimed directly at each other's church bell towers and set off.

The winning village is the one which has managed to score the most direct hits on their rival's church, though it is often difficult to produce an accurate tally.

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