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  • Agios Markos
    Agios Markos The Church of Agios Markos
  • Panagia Erithiani by Night
    Panagia Erithiani by Night The Churches under Fire
  • Vrontados
    Vrontados The City of Vrontados
  • Panagia Erithiani
    Panagia Erithiani The Church Of Panagia Erithiani
  • Rocketwar By Night
    Rocketwar By Night The Fight In The Holy Night

Welcome to Rocketwar.com!

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Welcome to the Rocket War website, which was created to show you a yearly spectacle that takes place on the island of Chios, Greece.

This website has been created specifically to document and capture this amazing event, in which over 60,000 rockets are fired from the residents of two opposing camps to each of the other's rival churches in the parishes of Saint Mark and Virgin Mary Erethianis.

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The goal of this war is for the teams to hit the opponent church, the bulls eye being Saint Mark's bell and Virgin Mary Erithianis clock...

The first one is the North side and the latest is the South side. Every person present must choose a side and support one of the shooting teams. At the end, the winner side is the one who managed to hit the other side church the most.

The official beginning of the war is 8 pm on Easter’s Eve but actually you can hear rockets flying from 4 or 5 pm. Indeed, the teams come early in the afternoon to settle the launching pads and they make tryouts, to see if the rockets fly in the right direction.

At 7.50pm, the bells of the churches ring and the war can start: each team shoot a wave of rockets every twenty or thirty minutes until 11.30 pm. sometimes they shoot the rockets altogether, but there’s no risk for one of them to be hurt because they are located a way that they hit the churches but not the other teams. So the safer place might be just behind the launching pads. And, if ever a fire is lit somewhere, there’s a halt in the war so that the firemen can safely put it out.

At midnight towards the end of the war, the teams launch rockets in a continuous way and that is the moment when the churches get the most damage. In addition to that, the inhabitants from Vrontados also launch colored fireworks and bangers. The result is nice, but it’s quite a messy noise.

When the bells ring at 12 pm, every one wishes “Happy Easter” to his neighbor and go home to have a big meal.

by Aurelie (France)

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Rocket War From The Eyes of Europe

Residents admit that it is not the most safety conscious ceremony, but every Easter Sunday on the small Greek island of Chios a fireworks war breaks out between two rival parishes. In a bizarre but long-cherished local tradition, two Orthodox churches in the town of Vrodandos fire rockets at each other's churches - while services are held inside them.

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A Belgian Volunteer Describes The Event

Vrontados, a small town on a calm Aegean Sea. However this town has a peculiar habit. Every year on the evening before Easter the night sky gets lid up by thousands of flashes. This is the Rocket War. In Vrontados there are 2 churches, Agios Markos and Panagia Erithiani. In a very folkloristic manner rockets are being fired at those churches by the two competing communities of the village.

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South Side or North Side?

During the Rocket War, we went up the hill inside a half-built house. From there we had a tremendous view on the valley: we could see both churches and almost all the spots from where they launched the rockets:

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The Rocket War Seen by Aurélie

The goal of this war is for the teams to hit the opponent´s church, the bulls eye being Saint Markos bell's and Virgin Mary Erithianis´ clock. The first being the North and the latter one the South side. Every person present must choose a side and support one of the shooting teams.

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Preparing Rockets

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The rockets are hand-made, as it is the local tradition

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Rocket War by Day

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The preparations for the big event on Easter start

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... And by Night

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When the war starts, it seems like it is raining fire

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After the War

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After the rocket war, clean up works have to be done

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