Easter Rocket War – Chios, Vrontados
Orthodox Easter, Good Saturday
The Rocket war is a “war” between two parishes of Vrontados, Agios Markos and Panagia Erithiani. The event is said to have begun some time in the years of Ottoman rule of the island. However, there is no evidence as to when and how this happened. Some people say that children from the two parishes used to play “war” with stones.
At some point, adults interfered in the children’s game, and Easter come they used to fire miniature canons to celebrate Easter, which were brought home by Vrontados mariners. They would set up the miniature canons in the yards and fire at the church of the opponent. The point was to make as much noise as possible at Easter night.
This went on for several years. In 1889 the first rockets appeared. Initially a pyrotechnics specialist made them, based on Italian methodology. Since 1900 the people from the parishes started to participate and make their own rockets. During the German occupation the tradition nearly came to an end. It was called off during the dictatorship and started again in 1970. In the 1950s, the opponents started to shoot rockets from the nearby fields aiming at the opposite church, which is what happens today as well.
Rocket War Location