The residents of the village of Saint Isidore in Rhodes Island maintain a tradition called Vourna and it lasts for 3 days, starting from the Saturday before Easter. Only single men of the village can participate and must obey to some rules. It is a unique custom and it is a great attraction.
On Saturday they gather large tree trunks and light up a bonfire before the Resurrection. In the village’s square they hang an effigy of Judas. On the same day they elect a board which is responsible for all the events and judging the participants on the last day. On Easter Sunday, after the Resurrection, the honour of setting Judas on fire is given to the man who is planning on getting married within the coming year.
The participants are committed to visit the Church of St. George on Easter Monday for the reading of the Gospel before it commences. Any of the participants who will arrive during or after the Gospel has began, is noted by the secret police (who remains undercover till the very end of the event) and is obliged to pay a small fine.
For those who will be noted as absent from the Church’s liturgy, a group of young people who have been designated by the Board, will visit their homes and hang a tsoukopana (a special cloth) onto the chimney of their home indicating their absence from the Church and will be recorded as an offense and will eat the appropriate fine.
On Easter Monday the “court” will take place with the board in-charge. They judge one by one the participants who had not respected the rules of this tradition and impose the fines that they must be charged with. Those who refuse to pay their fines are thrown in the cold water of the Vourna (a basin) without any warning. The money raised is given to charity.
Article by CaRantee – Car hire in Rhodes