Epiphany day in Athens

The annual custom of blessing the water, at the center of Piraeus, in Piraiki port. The cross is cast into the sea and people dive in to catch it. This will give them luck for the following year.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

I know that on this particular day a lot of different customs take place in various regions of Greece.

This year I headed to Piraiki where I heard that there is a custom taking place every year. The place was special although it is in an urban environment.

There is a small church that is located on the rocks of the small bay.

The first courageous people who will dive in the cold waters to catch the cross were already there. Around us, lots of spectators, sitting on the rocks, were waiting to see the custom.

The priests were on a platform from where the cross would be thrown into the sea for the divers (around 30 at that time) to catch it.

Well, just the fastest one.

It was hard to find a good spot for photographs since on the left side there were already too many people standing while on the right side it was too close to the water and I would wet my clothes.

The priest throws the cross three times to the sea.

The first two times was difficult for me to take any photo because it was thrown in a opposite direction. The third time I was lucky cause he threw it towards the spot where I was standing.

Epiphany day in Athens - Greece. Attica. Pireas. © Michael Pappas
Epiphany day in Athens
Greece. Attica. Pireas. © Michael Pappas

After the end of the ceremony, I celebrated with lots of people in one of the famous “tsipouro” places of the area of Piraiki.

#new year #epiphany #blessing #cast #dive #swim #sea #cross #church #water #religion

Location

Epiphany day in Athens

54 Akti Themistokleous Pireas
Pireas, Attica, Greece