Monday, January 8, 2018

Then came Saturday morning and . . .

A trip into the village on a Saturday morning is always interesting but last Saturday was made even more so by the fact that it was Epiphany. . .the day of Blessing the Water. . .

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Church - Kastania
Epiphany, January 6th,  in Greece is also known as Theofania or Fota. Sometimes it it called Little Christmas or Three Kings Day.  It, along with Easter, is one of the most sacred holidays in this new adopted country of ours. More than 90% of the country’s population (statistically, speaking) belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church.
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Villagers began gathering early at the cafes along the harbor
By the time we got to town – shortly after 10 a.m. the village cafes along the harbor (those that are still open this winter, that is) were filling rapidly because the harbor is center stage on this day.  The Greek church's Blessing of the Water commemorates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan and the manifestation of the Holy Trinity on this date.
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The harbor takes center stage on Jan. 6th
Settling in for a coffee at one of the cafes we waited for the church bells to announce the processional that would make its way to the harbor. The bells rang out. . .and from the village church just around the corner, they came. . .
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Off to Bless the Water in Agios Nikolaos
We stood as small group made its way to the harbor. . .
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The blessing begins
. . .then we shutterbugs clustered around the dock where the blessing would take place. Many of us left our tables at the cafes – no worries about ‘paying before you leave’ as they knew the patrons would return at the ceremonies end.
While across the harbor only two young villagers were brave enough to jump into the frigid water to retrieve the cross tossed into it as part of the blessing ceremony. There were dozens of swimmers in the village up the road but not here this year.
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Who will get the cross and be blessed the rest of the year?
The blessing was read and the cross readied. . .
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Blessing of the Water - 2017 Agios Nikolaos
Then. . . splash! The cross was tossed and retrieved in a ceremony that has been repeated throughout the decades in this small village in the Peloponnese. What a joy to be able to experience it.

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And who got the cross?
The one who retrieves the cross is considered blessed for the rest of the year. He carries it through the village – donations are made (which we were told he got to keep) and the festivities came to an end.

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Blessing of the Cross - 2017 - Agios Nikolaos
Saturday morning returned to its normal routines. As we set about our errands, I couldn't help but smile because this morning was one of those that helps answer the question I asked in last week’s post, “Why did we want to move here anyway?!?!”

Again a Kali Chronia to you all ~ Happy New Year wishes to you all. Thanks so much for the time you spend with us!! Safe travels to you and yours ~ Hope to see you here next week.

Linking with:
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20 comments:

  1. What an interesting ritual you have shared. We had never heard of this happening before, but your article detailed it very well. Thanks for sharing this fun event, and the beautiful photos that help tell the story.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this annual ritual in our adopted village. Thanks for the visit!

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  2. I never heard about the part where the retriever of the cross gets donations. Nice! The brave young man is off to a good start on his blessed year.
    Yep, my first time to see a crucifix on a silver platter surrounded by coins of the realm.
    Great that you are there to experience all the richness of the customs of Greece and Orthodoxy.

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    1. We feel blessed to be in an area of such cultural diversity. Just last week we attended an Albanian festival - learning so very much!!

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  3. What a nice start to your Saturday. I'd not heard of the Blessing of the Water before. It is interesting to discover the rituals in different places.

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    1. It really is a treat to be surrounded by so much culture -- sometimes feel like Alice in Wonderland!

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  4. The Blessing of the Water sounds like a fascinating ritual. It is always such as privilege to be able to share in these local customs.

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    1. Absolutely in agreement with that! We are blessed to be able to live 'differently' for awhile and learn about life elsewhere in the world.

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  5. Love his beaming smile :-) What a delightful tradition to witness.

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  6. So glad you have an answer to the "why did we want to move here anyway" question as this tradition is indeed one that would never lose its appeal for new and old residents. However, the ante would have to be a lot higher to make me think about jumping into the water for any kind of blessing!

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    1. I agree - nothing would have gotten me into that water!!

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  7. What a great tradition. I've never heard of this before. I hope the kid makes bank :-). I don't swim so l can't participate haha!

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    1. I suspect I could save myself, but I am with you: not a swimmer! Prefer my 'water sports' to be from the sideline!

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  8. What a wonderful tradition an a fabulous place that you live.

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  9. Epiphany - Blessing of the Water - is a ritual new to me. Very interesting. I always enjoy reading about your discoveries in your new found home!

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    1. Thanks Marilyn for stopping by - we never tire of learning all the new 'stuff'!

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  10. Very cool photos!
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/01/a-few-feathery-visitors.html

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  11. This is a great inside glimpse of the tradition. Thanks for sharing these photos. It's one thing to read about it but another to see it in person, for sure.

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