From the page: " The official name is "Rouketopolemos" literally meaning rocket-war. The celebration dates back to Ottoman times, when the Turks ruled the Greek Island of Chios. The people of the island used to use cannons for their celebrations but the Ottoman rulers forbade them from doing so. The Greeks, to spite the Turks, decided to use hand made rockets, and delightfully began using them, much to the dismay of the Ottoman rulers. It has continued as a tradition ever since.