The Greek name of Corfu is Kerkyra. In Greek mythology, Poseidon (God of the sea) fell in love with the nymph Korkyra and abducted her. He brought her to the island we now know as Corfu. Their son Phaeax was the founder of the Pheacians, the first known residents of the island. In Doric dialect Korkyra eventualy became Kerkyra. Corfu is also mentioned as Scheria in Homers Odyssey. A shipwrecked Odyssey washes ashore at Scheria and is woken by the laughter of Princess Nausica. She brings him to the Phaeacian Palace where he is given a ship by King Alcinous to return home to Ithaka.
The Durrells is a British comedy/drama series based on Gerald Durrell’s’ autobiographical books about the years (1935-1939) his family spent in Corfu. It premiered at ITV in 2016. Many scenes are filmed at Corfu and you can visit the filming locations.
The first ale brewery in Greece is founded in the village of Arillas. The beers are brewed without preservatives and come in multiple flavors. Make sure to try one during your visit!
Kumquat is a small fruit that originally comes from China. It was first brought to Corfu by English botanist Sidney Merlin in 1846. It looks like a small orange and has a sweet and sour taste. Kumquat is sold all over the island as marmalade, liqueur, candy and even as kumquat ice-cream.
The first modern university (the Ionian Academy) in Greece was founded in Corfu in 1824. After the Ionian Islands joined the kingdom of Greece in 1864 the academy was closed. A part of the staff and the library were moved to the newly created University of Athens. The building where the Ionian Academy was housed still exists today. The current Ionian University opened its doors in 1985 and consists of 3 faculties.
Easter at Corfu
Orthodox Easter is the biggest event of the year in Corfu. It attracts thousands of visitors with people from all over Greece and the world. It really is an extraordinary experience that gives a new meaning to the word ‘celebration’!
On Palm Sunday there is a procession of the Relic of Saint Spyridon who is believed to preformed a miracle and freed the island of the deadly plague in 1629.
On Holy Wednesday a ceremony takes place to give salvation and relief people from worries and negative thoughts. During this ‘Chrysoma’ the priest makes a cross on peoples wrists and forehead, using oil and cotton.
On Holy Thursday the 12 gospels (the service of the Holy passion) are read. At the ringing of the first bell eggs are dyed red. The red symbolizes the blood of Christ and the eggshell his tomb. The cracking of the eggs (early Sunday morning) resembles the resurrection of Christ.
Holy Friday is the day of the epitaphs. The procession will start in the afternoon and carriers on late into the night.
On Holy Saturday, at 6AM, the church of Panagia Xenon performs the reenactment of the earthquake that followed the resurrection of Christ. At 9AM another procession of the relic of Saint Spyridon is held to remember he saved Corfu from the famine that struck the island in 1553. Later that morning, at 11AM, the first resurrection is announced. Church’s bells ring and clay pots (small ones and big ones) filled with water are thrown from windows and balcony’s and smash onto the streets at Spianada making a lot of noise. This event is received with a applause and cheering from the thousands of people watching down below. Later on Saturday evening churches hold masses and close to midnight candles are lit. At midnight the fireworks mark the resurrection of Christ and the words ‘Christos Anesti’ (Christ has risen) and response ‘Alithos Anesti’ (He truly has) are spoken to each other. After church service families celebrate with dinner at home. The eggs painted red on Thursday are used to play a game called Tsougrisma. Each person at the table holds an egg and tries to crack another person’s egg (symbolizing the resurrection).
Easter Sunday brings together family, friends and strangers to celebrate with festive meals.
For a full program of this year’s Easter festivities please contact us!
The old town of Corfu has been an UNESCO world heritage site since 2007.
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