The 6th of January is a public holiday in Greece. It’s another day of celebration after Christmas and New Year’s eve, but has actually nothing to do with Christmas. On this day the Greek Orthodox church, celebrate the day that Jesus was baptist by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. It is called Theofania or “Ta Fota“.
Every church in Greece is celebrating. Each priest throws the Holy Cross in the water and blessing the area around. People jump in the water to catch the Cross, to be the lucky and blessed person of the new year! If there is no sea around, the nearest river, lake or reservoir is used. The Cross is hold by a string of course! In Chania the biggest celebration is in the Cathedral church and the cross is thrown in the harbour. Also other places in the area and the beaches are being used. This is a huge celebration all over Greece with a lot of people and noise.
The people who like to try to catch the cross and be ready to jump and be the lucky one and blessed by the priest.
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In Hania it’s a big do, with the prefects highest bishop, called despotis in greek, a military band, and all the most important politicians etc moves from the Cathedral down to the harbour through Halidon street.
If the weather is good, the old harbour in Hania, is packed with locals. A lot of boats turn up usually and they all hoot and make as much noise as they can!This year the weather was not the best, but people turn up. And jump in anyway!
This day is as I said called both Theofania and Ta Fota, it’s means The Lights and Gods Lightening. This is because the baptism is reckoned as the moment one get Gods light or see the light you might say. Everyone that is called Fotis, Fotini, Theofania, Theofania, Fanis and Fani has nameday on this day.