A small town out on a calm Aegean Island. But this town has a peculiar habit. Every year on the evening before Easter the night sky gets lid up with thousands of flashes. This is Rocket War. In Vrontados there are 2 churches, Agios Markos and Erithiani. In a very folkloristic manner rockets are being fired at those churches by the two competing communities of the village.
Starting from December locals start making thousands of Rockets. On the day before Easter some brave men start to install the launch platforms for the rockets. With the necessary aid of beer and refreshments the men adjust these platforms to direct the rockets in the right way. Some rockets are being fired to see if adjustments of the firing angle need to be made. At the same time, thousands of rockets are brought to the 2 sites where they are stored in fireproof bunkers.
But the real spectacle starts at eight o'clock, when the real war begins. The camps start gently by firing only a few rockets and provoking the other party with mild insults. Gradually the amount of rockets fired at each other increases and these barrages are quickly countered by the other camp. This keeps going on until the apocalyptic climax at twelve o'clock.
This spectacle is witnessed by hundreds, maybe thousands of people who add to the amusement by firing their own fireworks into the sky and throwing huge amounts of firecrackers on the ground. All this noise and all the explosions give you the feeling you’re in a warzone. The fact that these homemade rockets sometimes deviate from their course and find their way into the crowds, obviously add to this feeling.
The day after all the streets are paved with burned out rockets and the churches are covered with black strokes that resulted from the impacts of well-aimed missiles. Although this spectacle seems rather aggressive it is also one of the most beautiful events we have ever seen, and will not be lightly forgotten.
by Jorg and Jeroen (Belgium)