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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:

I did not even know about this special day until I was on the plane on my way to Costa Rica on exactly the 6th of January itself as this is not very big day for people in the UK, and it was saying in my guidebook I was finally getting to read that it is the celebration of the end of Christmas.

Here in San Jose, Costa Rica they have celebrated Christmas with their traditions and the Catholic religious traditions, everywhere I see the 'Navida' spirit and huge lit decorations still line the streets and the main square.

Great post,
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