Epiphany has a special meaning in Greece and it is celebrated on January the 6th. With this celebration the Christmas holidays come to an end.
The modern observance at Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens, 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 however the cross is generally attached to a nice, safe long chain, 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. 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.
It is said that the ‘kalikantzari’ the malicious spirits who are said to be active during the twelve days of Christmas are believed to be banished for the rest of the year.
Epphiphany is also called the Phota or Fota in reference to the day being a Feast of Light, and it is also the Saint;s day for Agia Theofania.
The biggest observance is at Piraeus, but many islands and villages offer smaller versions of the event. It is definitely still a traditional holiday, performed by Greeks for themselves, not for tourists.
Have a look on the link below how Orthodox Christians celebrate this day:
Click to see the photos: