Thursday, 6 January 2011

Epiphany celebration in Skiathos ...

Known as the 12th day of Christmas, επιφάνεια in Greek, Epiphany literally means miraculous phenomenon. It is a Christian feast intended to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus. Also called the called the Feast of the Theophany (In Greek Θεοφάνεια, "God shining forth"), it is one of the great feasts of the liturgical year.

This holiday is also much noted for the "blessing of the water" which is conducted by Eastern Orthodox churches and is very common within the Greek Orthodox faith. After a divine litergy, people meet at the nearest body of water ( whether it be a lake, river, ocean or pond and in modern days even pools are used), and a priest throws a cross into the water. Young men jump into the body of water to retrieve the cross and who ever finds it gets himself and his family blessed for a full year.

The Festival of Epiphany, or 'The Blessing of the Waters', is held every year on January 6 throughout all of Greece.

This morning after the church service, the brave young (and not so young) will dive into the cold water in the harbour, swim 50 metres and dive for the cross, which will be cast into the sea by the Pappa from Tries Hieraches church. The lucky person who retrieves the cross will collect money gifts, from the townsfolk as they go door to door and around the harbour cafes ...

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