Crowds lined the old city of Corfu’s narrow streets Saturday morning for one of the most spectacular events, called ‘botides,’ that involves dropping clay jars full of water from balconies to crash with a loud bang on the streets below, spraying attendees with water. Locals consider it a miracle that there have been no serious injuries from flying clay shards. This ancient event’s original purpose was to ward off evil spirits.

For the first time in three years, Greeks were able to celebrate Orthodox Easter without the restrictions made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

Beyond the obvious religious messages, in Greece, Easter signifies a return to the countryside, often to people’s ancestral homes, and a mass exodus from big cities.

Police and port authorities say that this year’s exodus was significantly higher than that of pre-pandemic 2019.

In 2020, there was a total lockdown; in 2021, some dared leave the cities, often in violation of long-distance travel rules. Police had set up roadblocks on national roads to turn offenders around and impose fines.

This year, churches were full and events fully attended, too. A variety of customs, some predating Christianity, were celebrated locally. Friday evening’s solemn procession of decorated funeral biers, or Epitaphs, once again was fully attended.

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