- Title: Greeks brave cold waters for the cross on Epiphany
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SWIMMERS STANDING IN WATER WAITING FOR CROSS TO BE THROWN
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 11:36
- Keywords: Greece orthodox Epiphany cross water ceremony
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0035XXYWXZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Faithful Greeks on Friday (January 6) took part in the celebrations of Epiphany Day, one of the most important celebrations of the Greek Orthodox religion, by diving into the sea to retrieve a cross thrown in by a priest.
The ritual of throwing a cross into the water is carried out across the country and commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.
In parts of the country where there is no sea, the custom is carried out in rivers, lakes, even fountains.
Hundreds of onlookers gathered at a beach in the Greek capital to watch the ceremony of the "Blessing of the Waters" as daring swimmers braved the chilly temperatures and choppy waters to be the first to touch the cross.
The cross, blessed by the priest before the ceremony, is believed to bring good luck for the year to those who retrieve it.
"I dive every year. I live abroad and I come back only for this, I like it very much. I wish 2017 will bring luck, happiness and no more hardships as 2016 did," said Cοnstantinos Tsaras, who travelled from Denmark to take part in the tradition.
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