Rouketopolemos (Rocket War)
Rocket warfare is a custom that takes place every Easter in Vrontado, Chios. The two rival parishes, Agios Markos and Panagia Ereithiani, launch thousands of improvised rockets aimed at the bell tower of the rival church on Holy Saturday night, creating a unique spectacle.
Improvised rockets are mounted on wooden bases and the whistle of a horn gives the signal for the start of hostilities. This is followed by a ceasefire to allow the faithful to come to the Church, and as soon as Christ is heard, a rain of burning rockets erupts and breaks out between the parishes.
The winner of the war between the opposing churches is announced a few minutes after the Resurrection and the unit of measurement is the most successful shot in the opponent's bell tower, but each parish always claims to have won. The result of this apparent disagreement is that both communities agree to settle next year's score and so the rivalry is perpetuated.
Church buildings and surrounding buildings should be protected with metal sheets and mesh for the occasion. Many residents are against the custom, but it is an important source of tourism revenue for the area.
The origin of this fact is unclear. Local tradition holds that it began to take place in the Ottoman era. According to local tradition, in the past, throwing was done with real cannons, but the Ottoman authorities banned their use in 1889.