|Agios Nikolaos - January 6, 2020|
We were stopped often as we made our way down the main street of our Greek village this morning. We called out greetings, received greetings, shook hands, and kissed cheeks as we passed friends and neighbors who were gathering at harborside.
|We were blessed with blue sky and sunshine|
This day, the sixth day of January, is commonly known in the Christian world as Epiphany or Three Kings Day. In Greece it is a feast day (a national holiday, to be sure) called the 'festival of light' (ton foton in Greek) and the day that marks the official end to the Christmas holidays.
|The papas and his processional|
|Blessings are being offered in Greek|
In our fishing village, Agios Nikolaos, overlooking the Messinian Bay, the blessing is an event that can't be missed. Speaking of blessings, this year we were blessed by having some of the nicest weather that we've ever experienced at this celebration. In previous year's we've nearly frozen or been drenched with rain during the brief late morning ceremony.
|Time to toss the Cross|
We heard the church bells announcing this special day in the early morning hours. Their ringing echoed up the hillside to our Stone House on the Hill. They rang again later in the morning calling worshippers to the church. The third time their joyous clanging filled the air was as the papas and his procession brought the cross from the church to the harbor's edge.
|One diver braves the cold water this year|
Reciting a blessing he tossed the cross into the harbor and pulled it back, then he repeated his actions a second time. Meanwhile one young man brave enough to dive into the water to retrieve the cross, had stripped to his swim trunks and was ready to go in. ( In previous years several young men have braved the temperatures.)
|Retrieving the Cross|
The third toss - the crescendo of the blessing -- was made, the young swimmer jumped in, the crowd cheered as he retrieved the cross and swam to the papas to receive his blessing.
|Refreshments are served!|
Then it was time for refreshments. Platters of baked goods were brought out from nearby restaurants and tavernas. The long tables at harborside, where the fishermen usually prepare, display and sell their daily catch, were turned into serving tables. Beverages ranged from tea to Metaxa, Greek brandy.
|Agios Nikolaos on the Messinian Bay|
We thank you for being with us again this week and our fingers are crossed that Feedburner sends this post to your inbox as it did last week. We appreciate the time you spend with us and again our wishes for a Happy New Year and happy adventures. We will be back next week if all goes as planned from the tropical shores of Hawaii. Stay tuned - you never know what adventures we might have there.