Horses in the sea

At the seaside village of Kala Nera, 18km away from the city of Volos, local horses take a dive in the water to get blessed by it. A very old annual event.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

I had watched a documentary about this custom so I visited to see it myself.

I had been invited by the photography club of Volos to present my work, so I arrived a day before the event. I met my friend Leonidas who was showing me around. He took me to have some Tsipouro (traditional alcoholic drink made by distilled grapes) at the city centre. I had heard many good rumours about the Tsipouro of Volos, regarding its quality and the accompanying food. Indeed, it was an experience that I hadn't met anywhere else before. 

I went back to the hotel to get ready for the presentation. After the presentation was finished, everyone proposed to go out for... Tsipouro!

On the next day I had to wake up early to visit Kala Nera, which is a seaside village, 18km away from the city of Volos. It is easy to reach by car. I arrive early to the village and it was easy to find a spot to park the car. I found a table at the wave's end and I sat to have a coffee. The sun was shining and I had the sea wave by my feet. By the time I was finishing my coffee, a lot of people had gathered to see the event. I noticed riders going through on horses and thought to follow them. They were surely heading to the starting spot. I always like to linger around the starting spots where people who will participate wait or are getting ready. 

A speech took place soon after and a horse show off, that I didn't think of much, as far as photography goes. I followed a small horse parade instead. They went to pickup the Icon from the church and brought it to the spot where the blessing of the water was about to take place.

A lot of people was gathered along the beach to see and take photographs of the event. I took myself a nice spot and waited for the horses to get in the water to get the blessing. It was difficult to handle but I was overwhelmed by the custom. I had seen nothing similar so far. The horses were going in the water up to their necks and swim. Some of them didn't want to go and threw their riders off. One of the riders had come all the way from Larissa on his horse to take part and he is the only one that was having so much fun. He was standing up on his horse jumping in the water and has a great time along with his horse. 

#blessing #church #horses #icon #sea #riders #dive #religion


Horses in the sea

Unnamed Road Kala Nera
Milies, Central Greece, Greece