Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

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The custom of Mastela

The custom of Mastela

About the event

Corridor: Via Adriatica
Country: Greece, Corfu, Ionian islands
The custom of Mastela

Easter, the greatest festivity of the Greek-Orthodox Church, is celebrated with particular reverence all over Greece. In Corfu the festivities of Easter are unique. The Western Civilization's influences are clearly visible even in this mainly Greek-Orthodox festivity.
The Corfiots call Easter Lambri of Lambria (Bright) expressing this way the symbolic spiritual brightness of the day. After a long seven-week period devoted to fasting and abstention from any kind of feast, comes Easter, day of happiness, day of enjoyments.
The special local customs, the direct relation of these days with the beginning of spring, show off a uniqueness, which has rendered the Corfiot Easter an attraction with visitors from all over the world. The polyphonic ecclesiastical music (a local particularity) predominates and pours out of the Corfiot churches to the small alleys of the city and the suburbs. This harmonic melody, a particular quadraphonia, which came from Crete in the 17th century, even today is called "Cretan melody".
In the morning of the same day the people are expecting the so-called 'First Resurrection'. After the morning Mass the bells ring joyfully and from the windows and balconies of the houses thousands of full of water clay pots are dropped on the streets. This custom is connected with the Gospels, but is also a Venetian influence, which used to throw from their windows old pots and old objects on New-year's day, expecting new things to be brought by the New Year. The Corfiots adopted this custom, but changed the date to Easter, the greatest Greek feast, and clay pots replaced the old objects.
On Easter night the Catholic Mass of the Resurrection takes place in Duomo with the accompaniment of the ecclesiastical organ.