Thanks to some serendipitous travel planning, we arrived in Larnaca, Cyprus, on the eve of Epiphany. In the Greek Orthodox community in Cyprus, the annual Epiphany celebration is their most important religious holiday of the year.
It occurs on January 6th, as in – “On the twelfth day of Christmas – la la la la laaaa.” As travelers, we always thank the Three Princes of Serendip when they enable us to see these colorful, local celebrations.
Devotees gather with their families at the St. Lazarus Church in Larnaca to take part in the ceremony, and walk in the religious procession to the sea.
For most, Epiphany is a serious affair …
… but for these two altar boys – not so much. If their mothers saw them goofing off for their girlfriends, there would be hell to pay … maybe literally.
Larnaca is a small town, and anyone who can march doesn’t miss an opportunity to strut their stuff.
Festivals like Epiphany give us a chance to delve into the local culture, and truth be told, they’re a great place to people watch. For instance, we now know where Santa goes to decompress and catch some rays after Christmas.
Of course, the highlight of the procession was the Archbishop and his entourage. Their vestments were beautiful, and we walked along with them to take in the all the intricate details.
The procession ended on a seaside dock on the promenade. White doves were released, and the Bishop threw the Holy Cross into the cold Mediterranean to be retrieved by divers. It’s a great honor to find the cross, but I have a mental image of some less-than-charitable underwater wrestling which would not be sanctioned by the Bishop. Luckily, he was topside.
It was a wonderful day out, and we finished with a feast of Cypriot delicacies: corn on the cob, and cotton candy.