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Epiphany day or blessing of the water.

You think it is too cold too jump into the water on January 6th? Don't worry as many brave Greeks will do it for you. On the January 6th the people on Crete and many other Christians around the world celebrate a tradition called the Epiphany or the blessings of the water. It is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible.

Makrigialos harbour in East Crete

The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when Saint John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Epiphany refers not only to the day itself but to the church season that follows it – a season that has a varied length because it ends when Lent begins, and this depends on the date of Easter.

Epiphany day celebrated in Greece on January 6.

During Epiphany, waters are blessed and evil spirits are banished. On many lakeside, seaside or riverside locations in East Crete, the Priests throw a cross into the water and young locals dive to compete for the privilege and blessing to catch it. The lucky person that finds the cross is blessed with good luck and health for the entire year.

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