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Rouketopolemos (Rocket War) – Chios, Greece

MARCH OR APRIL (EASTER).

EASTER CELEBRATIONS IN GREECE CAN GET PRETTY LARGE, OR SO WE’VE HEARD.

It may well have been the Rocket War on the Greek Island of Chios that you’ve heard ringing in this important date on the Christian calendar.

ROCKET WAR DOESN’T SOUND LIKE YOUR TYPICAL EASTER CELEBRATION.

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The story goes something along the lines of a traditional rivalry between two places of worship, and their respective congregations deciding to settle their differences by firing cannons at one another from opposing hilltops – all very Christian-spirited, right? Over the years it was sensibly decided that firing actual cannons was a tad too dangerous and the practice became what it is today. A massive display of large bottle rockets careening across the sky, the object of which is to hit the opposing church’s belltower.

IT STILL SOUNDS LIKE CONTROLLED CHAOS.

Locals know that it’s important to batten down the hatches and cover their houses and cars with a wire mesh cover before the battle begins. It’s advisable for tourists to stay at a safe distance from the ‘festivities’, which is where the best views are anyway.

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