Before the Rocketwar we went up the hill in Vrontados. From there we had a tremendous view of the valley: we could see both churches and almost all the spots from where they launched the rockets.
Just a few minutes later we were joined by a group of Greek people and one of them asked us if we were supporting the North or the South side. He told us that we had to support one team, that it was the tradition. “No one can stay neutral.” He and his friends were supporters of the South side, the groups who were shooting at Agios Markos. So we decided to root for them as well, at least for a few minutes.
We wondered why they were not down there with the people who were firing rockets and finally built up the courage to ask. He told us that it demanded too much time, energy and money.
His cousin had prepared this event from early November on and had spent all his savings on materials for rockets. He also told us that it was the first time that he saw so many people at the Rocketwar. He was born on Chios and now worked in Athens but he came back every year to attend the Rocketwar. A few years ago, only people from Chios were there but now visitors from all over Greece as well as from foreign countries attended the event.
Indeed, the Rocket War tradition is an interesting one and attracts all kinds of curious people who want to understand the true meaning of it. Then I asked him if the churches were rebuilt every year and if the neighbours were angry about the event. He said: “On the contrary, they are proud of it and that they do not want this tradition to end. If their house is ever damaged, they are given some money from the church.”
Until a few weeks after Easter, people give donations to both churches and this money is used to rebuild the houses. The inhabitants are very attached to their Rocketwar.