So today is the day of the celebration of the festival of the epiphany! Greek orthodox Christians recognize and celebrate this day as the manifestation and appearance of Jesus, the Magi, the baptism of Christ and the blessing of the waters. As such it’s a very important holiday on the Greek orthodox calendar and is celebrated all over the world at a nearby pier, pool or fountain! Any body of water will do as long as it’s ‘living’.
After an early morning mass in the local Greek orthodox church the congregation flock to the pier or boats and await the priest who passes down to the end of the pier followed by the procession of people and after splashing us with basil leaves soaked in holy water ceremoniously throws the wooden crucifix into the water to which youths dive in desperate to be the lucky first to reach the cross and receive the priest’s special blessing for the year when he returns the cross to him. It’s quite a spectacle and of course afterwards there’s Greek music, dancing and feasting on souvlaki and loukomades (sweet, sticky doughnuts)! Oh and did I mention dancing!!
Every year my family go to the church in Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula and then to the Rye pier and foreshore to celebrate this festival. Every year I ponder the meaning of epiphany and dig deep to make a new discovery.
Here’s what I saw today. I’m unable to upload photos from my phone to the iPad so let me paint a picture with words.
Greeks of all shapes and sizes
Dripping with gold and diamonds
Flocking to the foreshore
Longing to be sprinkled
With basil-scented holy water
And blessed by the sacred seawater
For another year
Safe from the evil eye
With ambrosial honey
All line up for hours
Baring all in bikinis
To the imagination
The real epiphany is yet to hit me I think. Maybe tonight, late tonight. When it’s just me and the birds…