THEOFANIA (EPIPHANY)



THEOFANIA (EPIPHANY)

On the 5th, 6th and 7th of January we celebrate the "Lights" (Fota) since God is Light and has appeared to illuminate those who sit in darkness. Theofania (Epiphany) on the 6th of January is the last of the 12 days of Christmas and it's the day of purification of the people's souls.

On the 5th we go to church where the great blessing/purification takes place in the temple. We all receive the Holy Water in tiny bottles and take it home where we spray it all over the house in order to become "purified" and blessed. Then we also drink some, too. In some small villages the priest himself visits all the houses to bless them with the Holy Water. This also is the time when the Kalikantzaroi (Trolls) leave (read related post).
After church the children go caroling (as they did on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve) to the neighboring houses receiving sweets and money.

                       

On the 6th of January we celebrate the Theofania ( or Epiphany or The Blessing of the Waters). It  is a very important holiday as it celebrates the Holy Trinity through the Baptism of the Lord, God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son and the Son was baptized by St. John the Baptist as the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove.  At some point during the sermon at church a long procession is formed following the priest at whatever road leads to a body of water-a lake, a river, the ocean or if that is not possible to a special tank outside the church. There the priest while chanting hymns throws the cross into the water. The church bells ring and white doves are freed into the sky as daring young men dive into the cold waters to catch the cross. Whoever finds the cross is said to be blessed and to have good luck throughout the coming year.


                       
  
The most spectacular ceremonies happen at ports where little boats and ships gather in a semicircular fashion blowing their horns accompanying the hymns sung by the church choir


On the 7th of January we celebrate St. John the Baptist' s day. This day of course everybody named John (Yannis) or Johanna (Yanna) celebrate as well (read the Celebrating Name Days post).

Please watch a related video :

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