Chios, Greece – In celebration of Orthodox Easter hundreds of rockets were set off on the Greek Island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. The event in which over 50,000 homemade rockets are fired by the residents of two opposing camps at each other’s rival churches; Saint Mark and Virgin Mary Erethianis, is generations old and continues today.
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 in a traditional good-natured rocket war known as “rouketopolemos.” Villagers from rival parishes Aghios Markos and Panagia Ereithiani, in the Municipality of Vrontados, create the handmade rockets in their own homes and shops. The two rival villages compile the rockets into large salvos, which are then set off on the annual celebration marking the Resurrection of Christ, and aimed directly at each other’s church bell towers. It is estimated that the yearly production of rockets produces some 70 thousand to 80 thousand small missiles. 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.