Eretria - Greece
Epiphany (alteration of Greek epiphaneia appearance, manifestation, from epiphainein to manifest), or 'The Blessing of the Waters', is held every year on January 6 throughout all of Greece. In this ritual a priests toss a cross in the waters, followed by young men diving into the frigid sea to retrieve the symbol of the Christian faith. The brave swimmer who recovers the cross is thought to be blessed with good luck throughout the year.
Epiphany is celebrated by both the Eastern and Western Churches, but a major difference between them is over precisely which historical events the feast commemorates. For Western Christians the feast primarily commemorates the coming of the Magi, while in the East the feast celebrates the Baptism of Christ in river Jordan. However, in both cases the essence of the feast is the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world (whether as an infant or in the Jordan), and the Mystery of the Incarnation.
For the Orthodox Christians called the Feast of Theophany (Greek: Θεοφάνεια, "God shining forth" or "divine manifestation"), it is one of the Great Feasts of the liturgical year. This term has been used to refer to appearances of the gods in the ancient Greek and Near Eastern religions. Theophanies occur throughout Greek mythology, while the Iliad is our earliest source for descriptions in the Classical tradition.
©2009 Jordan Kevrekidis