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Greek villagers fire thousands of rockets in an annual ‘war to keep the peace’

Every Holy Saturday before Easter, a small, coastal town on the Greek island of Chios bursts into a dizzying pyrotechnic bombardment, as residents shoot off thousands of homemade rockets between two churches and into the night sky. While the origins of Vrontados’s annual ‘rocket war’ are uncertain, it is said to have begun some 200 years ago, when villagers lit rockets to keep Ottoman invaders at bay so that those attending Easter mass could worship safely. The ritual has thus been coined ‘the war to keep the peace’. For those who carry the torch of the tradition, the event is a deeply rooted combination of craftsmanship, passion and devotion.

Director: Salomon Ligthelm

Producer: Alex Friedman

6 July 2015

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