Rocket_war in Chios !!
In “Chios” a war” between two parishes of Vrontados -a village in Chios–island, a Greek_Island– , Agios Markos and Panagia Erithiani. This custom has its roots in the Ottoman domination, but there is no clear information about when and how exactly it started. We know little about the history of this custom before 1950.
Witnesses say that in the old days, the children -called as the Vrontadousakia – of the two parishes played stone throwing with slingshots. It is possible, that the cause of the stone throwing was the fact that the settlement of Agios_Markos was younger than the other settlement of Panagia Erithiani, and this created rivalries among children. Maybe in these altercations instigated some time and older people, mainly during the Easter period.
As the years go passing by, the cannons replaced the slingshots. At the beginning, they threw cannonballs to celebrate His Resurrection. These cannons owned by the merchant ships for security reasons, and brought to the island by the Vrontadian sailors from decommissioned ships. They set the cannons in the courtyards of churches and began firing cannonballs from one church to another. Those cannons who called “the trympounia” filled with gunpowder, and fired at time of the Resurrection and with the loud bang they were trying to break one church windows of the other.
This continued for many years. In 1889 this custom was considered as dangerous and banned. For uncleared reasons got uncontrollable bigness, as the “opponents” broke down the pebbled courtyards of the churches!!! in order to fill these cannons, with pebbles . Whereupon appeared the first rockets!
From then until 1950 the rockets came from the roofs of churches. But because they caused damage and it was dangerous for the people who involved, they began firing them from the surrounding fields. The custom has been threatened to extinguish during the years of Nazi occupation. It was also interrupted, during the early years of the dictatorship (1967-1974) and was resumed in 1970.
For the parish of Panagia of Erithiani is the dome and the “lion of Agios Markos” (the emblem of Agios Markos which is in hagiography above the main gate of the church).
For the parish of Agios Markos the church clock of Panagia of Erithiani.
The rocket_war hides much trouble and endless hours of preparation, but a lot of fun and passion. The rockets are made by “belligerents” and the cost of construction is high.