Island Rocket Wars

A Greek Easter tradition that sets the sky above Chios on fire

Every Easter in the town of Vrontados on the Greek island of Chios, in lieu of egg hunts and in addition to mass, a handful of tradition-abiding citizens engage in Rouketopolemos, or “Rocket War,” a furious fireworks battle that’s been waging for more than a century between two communities from different parishes.

“Each side fires tens of thousands of rockets from the rafters of two local churches”

“The days before the event you’re walking around this small town that’s ready to blow,” says filmmaker Scott Carthy. “From New Year’s Day, groups of friends of various ages meet up and just make rockets: they have tea, with rockets; dinner, with rockets.

”Each side fires tens of thousands of rockets—all from the rafters of two local churches, and with the aim of hitting the opposite side’s church bells across a field. “Then by 7am the next morning there’s hardly a rocket in sight,” Carthy explains. “Everything goes back to normal.”

Rocket War is the second in the series entitled Postcards, by London agency Just So, featuring films shot on a whim and in a single day, with no recce or prep.

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