Botides Easter Custom | Corfu | The Flying Claypots
Updated: May 5
Botides is an Easter custom that takes place at the celebration of the "Early Resurrection" in Corfu, during which the Corfiotes throw down large clay pots (named botides) to smash on the street pavement. The pots have a narrow spout and two handles on the side, they are tied with red ribbons and they are filled with water, while the balconies and windows of the houses in the old town are decorated with a red cloth.
The custom is celebrated only in Corfu and has its roots in the Venetian years of the occupation of the island. At that times, the Venetian Catholics used to brake the old pitchers on New Year's Eve, as a "tax" to the new year, in order to bring them more and new goods to their home. The Orthodox Corfiots adopted the custom and transferred it to Easter (the Venetians did not allow night celebrations, thus it became a noon custom).
There are also assumptions that the custom anticipates the Resurrection of Jesus, celebrated that same night, to commemorate King David's phrase: "Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psalm 2:9). In both cases, the breaking of the jugs symbolizes the removal of misfortune, which is why even today the people of Corfu and many visitors of the island take the pieces of the broken "booties" to their homes, to bring them good luck and prosperity.
The custom starts at 11 o' clock in the morning, with the signal of the first Resurrection and when the Metropolitan sings "The God Resurrected, Judging the Earth". The bells of all the churches of the city start ringing joyfully and the residents start throwing the claypots from their balconies or windows. As soon as the custom is completed, the Philharmonic Orchestras start walking in the streets of the city again, playing the song "Don't be afraid Greeks".