Good Friday in Agrinio is traditionally greeted with chalconas, fireworks that add “degree” to the atmosphere of the holiday and are one of the characteristic Easter customs of the region.
As you know, chalcones, chalkunia (χαλκούνια) are improvised designs of firecrackers, consisting of a large cylinder filled with a mixture of gunpowder and a wick at the end.
Their history dates back to the years of Ottoman rule, when the inhabitants of Agrinio lit fire torches during the procession behind the hump of the Lord (epitaphs) to drive out the pagans. However, the tradition continued even after the liberation of the country, in the context of the confrontation that took place between the two main religious groups. One included the parishes of Agios Christoforos, Agia Triada and Agios Georgios, and the other included the parishes of Agios Dimitrios and Panagia. And in the center of the city their “collision” took place.
During the dictatorship, the chalcones were banned for reasons of citizens’ safety, but they re-entered the life of the townspeople in the early 90s, this time becoming more organized and implemented with the support of the municipality.
Traditionally, fiery fireworks are officially organized in the square “Demokratias” (Republic) – after the epitaph, following custom, as a celebration and without the existence of any “opposing” groups, paying tribute to history under the supervision of the city authorities.
Crowds of people flock to the city every year to watch the spectacular spectacle usually covered by TV and other media. Apart from the city of Agrinio, the custom of Chalcunia still exists in the neighboring regions of Paravola and Tragana.
So this year, despite the lockdown and the coronavirus, they decided to observe the tradition: they lit fireworks in the central square near the diocese of the Holy Trinity, as well as in other parts of the city.