local-kiwi-alien

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Greek Epiphany

Epiphany on January 6th is another important  day here in Greece celebrating the baptism of John the Baptist in the Jordan river.  The most meaningful  part of the celebration is the blessing of the waters.  All the island's important people join the faithful in the main church first for a service and then parade together down to the waterfront where most of the island's population wait to watch the happening.

Cafe tables are full and excitement runs high as everyone waits for the priests and VIPs to board the small water taxi which takes them out into the middle of the strait.



The head priest starts the blessing, throwing the cross three times into the sea.  It is attached by a long ribbon and he hauls it back in the first two times.  With the third throw a group of brave men, and nowadays a few girls as well, dive into the freezing sea to retrieve the cross.  The first to reach the cross and hold it aloft is blessed for the following year.


The boat carrying the VIPs is accompanied by local rowers, including two of my grandchildren. My youngest grandson wanted to jump in after the cross this year too but was dissuaded by his mother who was watching the weather forecast and an approaching snow storm. Maybe next year the day will be sunny and warm.

When we  know the cross has been grabbed and the swimmer identified we all drift back to the cafeterias for more ouzo and coffee.  The whole island is out, big family groups all dressed in their Sunday best. We spend much of the time in the cafeteria greeting friends, kissing cheeks and wishing everyone a great year, always with good health.  Once you get to a certain age the first and most important wish for the coming year is good health.  


Blessed water 
My sis in law always brings us a bottle of Holy water from the church. We take 3 sips the next morning before drinking coffee to have a blessed year... Uhummm
The rest of the water gets sprinkled around the house, in the corners and in the car, over the motorbikes anywhere else which might need help from powers above 

January the 6th is also the name day for those called Fotis or Fani.  Next day, January 7th is the celebration of all those called Yiannis (John) and Yiannoula (Joanna).  Agios Yiannis (St. John) is a popular saint.  'A house without a Yiannis will not prosper' is a greek saying. 

We of course have our own Yiannis and spent the afternoon celebrating with him and the family.

And that is about the end of the festive season. Schools open after St John and life gets back to its routine. The next name day is St Antoni on 17th January and then St Athanasios on the 18th.  

Then we start the 3 weeks of carnival.  

And so the celebrations continue  ........ whatever the weather or the state of the economy



11 comments:

  1. Greeks sure know how to celebrate - wonderful

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    1. Celebrations
      ... Wonder how many days there are every year?

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  2. The sun came up today.
    A reason to party lol
    This has got to be th reason we all live so long
    We went to the the blessing of the waters this year. First time ever. Two girls were in the running. And one nearly got it
    Oh well
    Next year xxx

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    Replies
    1. Good for the girls. It's about time they take part in all these rituals!!

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  3. We have the blessing of the waters in the North Sea off Great Yarmouth by the local Greek community

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    1. Anywhere there are Greeks they'll be getting together to celebrate...as they do so love

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  4. "The Old Ways" knew how to keep the people's spirits up! Keep having Festivals and Holy Days, to look forward to.

    Bet it works today, too...

    ✨✨✨✨

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    1. Greeks sure do enjoy life .....except when they're lining up on the bank to pay more taxes. They know how to rumble and how to grumble!!!!

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  5. Warm or cold, it is still a sparklingly beautiful scene in the harbour. Stay warm and enjoy those festivals.

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    1. I'm sitting right beside the wood fire listening to rain on the roof. Lovely

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  6. That sounds like a really fun day, something to do over Winter anyway.

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