25 April 2006


How I wish I'd been here for Greek Easters in years gone by, when tourists were less wary and this riotous behavior was less policed.

Unique to Corfu is the pot-chucking that everone indulges in after the Holy Saturday parade and in terms of risk to life n limb it sound up there with the running of those pamplona hot roasts.

From "designated" balconies - but in earlier more frolicsome times from yours or mine - earthenware pots of all sizes are hurled down onto the streets below, symbolising the cleansing of the houses of evil spirits before the start of the new year.

The pots are first filled with water to avoid flying shards, and the areas where this takes place is carefully cleared and cordoned off. Indeed, they even sell pots in the streets for this purpose, but the true purpose is to dump (literally) all those manky old pans that you've burnt the baked beans in or the old man used for gawd knows what.

And of course the real fun has gone now that people know to stay well back.

My mother alerted me to the event by describing how one day some years back, she was casually strolling down some Corfu street when she felt herself grabbed and hauled inside a shop.

"Goodness!" she thought, "this is just like India with rapacious shopkeepers grabbing you to buy their wares."

Next thing, the air outside was raining pots n pans and the pavement was carpeted in pottery.

"You could have been killed!" I gasped, to which our Greek companion grinned and confirmed Yes indeed, many were the injuries and some quite serious.

But no security? No law enforcement?

Ah well, back in the good ol' days before The Man moved in to spoil the fun, it was assumed you knew the score and if you didn't you were probably some disposable tourist trash from outta town - with luck, one 'em steenking Athenians, bwah hah hah ....

Even today, with parking being what it is, you get some dude turning up in his shiny BMW and thinking "Hot damn! This be my lucky day - look at that, parking space within strolling distance of my honey's love nest and I'm the first one to nab it."

Off he struts, only to return post-canoodle to find his hood beat in, his belle voiture covered in earthenware, and as likely as not a grinning crowd who'v been handing around to enjoy his rage and discomfort.

Doubtless the rage and discomfort scenario takes a further improv when ο κυριοσ comes to explain to wifey whence all the damage when he'd only been off visiting his uncle Priam in distant Pyrgi.