Philadelphia, PA – “Christos Anesti, Christos Anesti!” was shouted out to the crowd by Father Alexandros of Evangelismos Greek Orthodox church. While holding candles and gathered outside of their church, parishioners looked on during the Easter midnight mass. Colored fireworks exploded in the night sky over the tiny church as children gazed in amazement.
Red and Green rockets announced to the world, Christ has Risen! The traditional fireworks display is reenacted on the island of Chios announcing Greek Orthodox Easter. But on this evening the tradition has traveled with it’s immigrant sons and daughters to Philadelphia.
The Liturgy service had taken it’s congregation outside. While across the street, in the neighborhood playground, a youth group of Chiotes had prepared a fireworks display tradition, brought straight from their Island home.
One of the legends the tradition is said to be founded on says that the Ottomans who were in control at the time, outlawed the Greeks from firing off canon’s any longer during Easter. However, the Greeks persuaded them to allow them to celebrate Easter in another manner which continues today and has become popularized in several villages.