Rocket War

It is difficult to tell how and when the "Rocket War"-tradition started in Vrontados. Today there are many different versions of the story. We will tell you two of them.



The first version says that it has its origins in the 19th century, when the Ottoman occupiers confiscated the cannons of the locals because they feared that they would be used in a rebellion. So the residents of Vrontados had the idea of using rockets instead. This became the traditional annual Rocket War.

The second story states that this tradition was born during the turkish occupation. People from the island were prohibited from celebrating Easter the way they used to. The Christians from the churches of San Maria and San Marco decided to have a fake war with rockets to keep the Turkish away. Indeed, the Turkish were frightened by the sudden violence. They kept a safe distance while the rockets were fired. In the meantime, the communities were able to celebrate Jesus' resurrection in the churches.

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Well, it was Easter and every year people on ChiosIsland celebrate a very special and exciting one. We can tell you, it is kind of scary but impressive, too. Year by year people from all over the world travel to the little village Vrontados to see two local orthodox churches shooting hand-made rockets at each other. This unusual event takes place since at least the 19th century, the time of the Ottoman Empire.

The mock war is made by two rival teams. One team’s position is on the side of Agios Markos and the the other one of Panaghia Ereithiani, the two churches of the village. The goal is to hit the bell of the opposite church.

Actually, many people know the island just because of the event’s popularity and that’s why they come to visit Chios for this special weekend. In this year reporters and film producers from America, England and Japan made their way to our beautiful island to become eye witnesses of the Rouketopolemos.

Interesting is, that services are held while thousands of rockets are flying through the sky, at houses, on the streets or at trees, what sets them on fire sometimes. So inside the churches are serious services and outside is a crazy war.

To prevent possible destruction, people of the village prepare their houses and the churches with mashes and metal fences before the Rocket War begins.

Around 8 pm the two teams start the event with shooting the rockets one by one. Over the time they jump to higher levels and shoot more rockets at a time. And in the end it definitely feels like a Rocket War when hundreds of rockets start to burn and to fly nonstop for around two minutes!

Sometimes the police made a little visit, because of some complaining neighbors, but all in all they closed their ears and eyes.

So if this sounds as exciting for you as it is for us, come to the next Rocket War! It will be amazing and really fun!



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