Epiphany in Crete image

Epiphany

Epiphany is one of the most sacred Greek Orthodox celebrations as it commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and celebrates the revelation that the incarnate Christ was both fully God and fully man.

Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas on 6th January (or January 19th for some Orthodox Church who has Christmas on 7th January) and is the time when Christians remember the Wise Men (also sometimes called the Three Kings) who visited Jesus. ... Epiphany is mainly celebrated by Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

As with most of the greek holidays, this one too has some rituals/traditions, the most important ritual is the “blessing of the waters”, which is performed by the Greek Orthodox priest. In seaside or lakeside areas, the priest is throwing a special cross into the water and swimmers jump in the water to recover it. It is believed that the person who captures the cross and returns it to the priest will be blessed for the whole year.

Like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the Epiphany (or Theofania as it’s called in Greek) holiday has its own carols (kalanda). Children will sing the carols in exchange for money and sweets. Every region in Greece has its own version for the “Fota kalanda” (Fota is another name we use for the holiday and its literal translation is lights). You can listen to the Cretan version if you follow the link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IudBy7KSG7k).