Plenty of feasts take place on the cosmopolitan island of Corfu throughout the year. During the summer season, visitors can enjoy or even participate in countless glorious events which are dedicated to the saints.
Additionally, thanks to its extensive historical background, Corfu hosts several cultural events that are reminiscent of the island's rich past.
The Carnival of Corfu resembles a lot the Carnival of Venice, as it has its roots in the Venetian occupation of the island in the 17th century. Many traditional costumes take place in Corfu Old Town as well as a great parade in Liston.
The Varkarola is a special local event celebrated every August with choirs in boats singing kantades (traditional romantic songs from the late 19th/early 20th century) while fireworks light up the sky.
The Cricket Festival is a local custom coming from the British domination of the Ionian islands. This festival is annual and takes place in the huge cricket ground in Spianada Square, Corfu Town.
Religious feasts & festivals
The celebration of Easter in Corfu is truly a unique experience carrying elements from the Roman Catholic community and Orthodox religion. On Holy Friday, the local bands and choir of the island accompany the procession of the Epitaphios (the tomb of the Christ decorated with flowers) and the processions of all churches are gathered in Spianada Square, Corfu Town. Preparations start in the early morning hours for the Holy Saturday when locals celebrate the first resurrection by throwing clay pots (botides) from their balconies in Corfu Town. This particular custom is very characteristic of Easter in Corfu.
Saint Spiridon is the patron saint of Corfu. Legend has it that he has saved the island many times from plague, famine, and invasions from Saracens and Turks in Medieval times. Although he never lived in Corfu, his relics came to the island after his death. Saint Spyridon is very beloved by the residents of Corfu and celebrates four times a year: on December 12th, on Sunday before Easter, on the first Sunday of November and on August 11th.
On June 24th, the feast day of Saint John is celebrated in Mantouki as well as in many other villages of Corfu, where people still keep the tradition of jumping over fires.
On July 2nd, there is a feast in Panagia Vlacherna in Kanoni, Corfu Town.
On August 6th, the feast for the Transfiguration of Christ, there is a feast in Pontikonisi. Also, from August 1st to 6th, there is a pilgrimage in the Monastery of Pantokrator.