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Epiphany celebration

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EpiphanyPeiraikiOn Jan. 6th  during the Theofania (also Epiphany or Fota) celebration takes place across Greece while the Greek Orthodox Church performs

 the “Great Blessing of the Waters”.

The ceremony is performed once on the eve of Epiphany in the church, and then again on the actual day outdoors with priests blessing large bodies of water, sea, rivers, lakes and of the vessels that ply them .
In all Greek coastal cities and villages the priests bless the waters with the Holy Cross, while many brave swimmers jump into the icy waters despite the cold weather to catch the Cross and get the priest’s blessing for the year.
The tradition wants the young man that catches the Cross will have extra good luck and blessing for the year to come. As the cross is victoriously brought back, the priest releases a white dove, as a symbol of the holy spirit.
This religious celebration commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, according to the Orthodox Church, and the banishing of the mischievous Kalikantzaroi (goblins) back to the hollow earth for another year round, according to popular belief.

Οne of the main traditions of the Epiphany holiday is the Kalanda (carols) sung by children on Epiphany’s Eve taking the message of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River from house to house over sweets or a small amount of money.

So, do not be surprised if you hear the door bell ringing on the 5th of January morning...

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