Philadelphia, PA – On Saturday night, just after midnight, fireworks filled the air over Evangelismos Greek Orthodox church. Heads turned in to the sky from the church parking lot just as Father Alexandros yelled out, Christos Anesti! Red and green fireworks colored the sky as parishioners celebrated Christ’s resurrection.

This year the Chiotes of Philadelphia brought in Easter for the congregation on Bustleton avenue, with a tradition brought straight from their Island home. 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”.