5:49 pm - Sunday September 24, 2017

Wow!! Rocket war festival

Rocket war festival

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This is an amazing video of a local traditional event “Rocket war”. Which is held every year at Easter in the town of Vrontados on the Greek island of Chios. The event is also known as Rouketopolemos. This event is celebrated between two rival parishes, St. Mark’s and Panaghia Ereithiani. Both the respective churches are about 400 meters away from each other and are build on two hilltops.

Before Easter Sunday during the celebration of the service, people from both sides throw fireworks at each others houses and churches at midnight. They aim the bell tower of the church of the other side and fire tens of thousands of home made rockets across town and this is know as Rocket War. The rockets are made of wooden sticks loaded with an explosive mixture containing gunpowder and launched from grooved platforms as you can see in this video.

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This video was recorded during the rocket war event held in April 2009. You can see how they throw rockets at each others houses and on the bell tower of church. Thousands of rockets are placed in a line at one place aiming each others houses and church, 3-4 men are setting those on fire in a line. You can see the incoming rockets from both sides and at night it looks absolutely amazing and sky is covered with rockets all across. Rockets are falling on the houses at both sides and people are lightning the lamps inside the church. You can see rockets are hitting building at both sides. Direct hits on each belfry are supposedly counted on the next day to determine the winner, but each parish invariably claims victory over the other. The result of this apparent disagreement is that both parishes agree to settle the score next year, and the rivalry is thus perpetuated. They take protection against fireworks to avoid any kind of burning incident. The church buildings themselves and the nearby buildings have to be extensively boarded up and protected with metal sheets and mesh for the occasion.

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But there are several Vrontadites who regularly express their dismay at the explosive nature of the custom, but anyhow it is a source of significant tourist revenue for the area. The origin of this event is unclear, but local tradition holds that it goes back to the Ottoman era. According to local lore it was earlier performed with real cannons, until Ottoman authorities prohibited their use in 1889. So still it is a famous and traditional event for the people of Greek island of Chios.

Thank you for watching this amazing video of Rocket war festival and i hope you like it.

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