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Experiencing the Spirit of the Rocket War

The rocket war is a unique custom that takes place in Vrontados, a village in the Greek island of Chios. This tradition started many centuries ago. No one is aware of the real cause of the rocket war but old people use to say that it started when Greek people were trying to scare the Turkish army away during the war between the two countries. Some other people say that some sailors that visited China saw the rockets and the fireworks during a feast there and they were so surprised that they learned how to make the rockets and after they came back to Chios island they started this tradition and they taught their children how to continue it.

Now, on Saturday evening during the Orthodox Easter the two churches, Agios Markos and Panagia Erithiani, have a rocket war between each other. Every year thousands of rockets are thrown from both sides. The participants themselves construct the rockets following the old traditional ways they learned from their fathers. All the residents of this area take part in this custom but mostly youngsters are the ones who lead this “war”.

The result of this war is a very extraordinary spectacle which attracts hundreds of people not only from Greece but from all over the world. Many people who have witnessed this tradition say that as soon as the rocket war begins, it seems as it rains fire. However, the most amazing thing is not this spectacle that lasts only for a few hours but also the preparation of the rockets that starts as soon as each rocket war ends.