The Greek Orthodox Festival of Epiphany, or ‘The Blessing of the Waters’, is held every year on January 6 throughout all of Greece. This is the special occasion when many daring young Greek men brave the chilly waters to dive for a cross after it has been blessed by a priest and thrown into the water.
For his gallantry, the first man who recovers the cross is said to have good luck throughout the coming year. The day long festival also features the blessing of small boats and ships, and later on affords entertainment, music, dancing and food to all those present.
On the stroke of January 6th, the “twelve days” of Christmas officially come to an end. This day, takes on a special meaning in Greece. Here, there is a special ceremony of blessing the waters and of the vessels that ply them.
The modern observance takes the form of a priest hurling a large crucifix into the waters. Young men brave the cold and compete to retrieve it. These days, the cross is generally attached to a nice, safe long chain or ribbon just in case that year’s crop of divers is something less than desired.
After the diving, local fishermen bring their boats to be blessed by the priest.
What does all this have to do with Christmas? Orthodox belief says that it was the day of the baptism of Jesus, and that this is where the day’s association with water arises.
On January 6, 2014 the crew of the MELX II following tradition took part in this year’s celebrations of Epiphany, just outside the Mikrolimano harbor jetty together with other boats athletes and sailors from all over the Attica region of Greece.
On the same day we had the Award Ceremony of the Yacht Club of Greece 2013 Winter Trophy which was captured by the TEAM EXLence in a much-celebrated victory.
Until next spring, when it all starts anew, we wish a good winter to all of you!