Epiphany in Paphos

Epiphany, Also Known as Theophany

Epiphany, also known as Theophany, is a significant religious holiday celebrated in Cyprus on January 6th. It marks the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The day is a public holiday in Cyprus and is widely observed by both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic communities.

The Celebrations of Epiphany

The celebrations of Epiphany in Cyprus are deeply rooted in religious traditions and customs. One of the most important rituals of the day is the blessing of the waters, which takes place at the sea, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs across the island. The ceremony is conducted by the local priests, 

Epiphany in Paphos Harbour

who throw a cross into the water and bless it in the name of the Holy Trinity. This act symbolizes the sanctification of the waters and the manifestation of Jesus as the Son of God.

The Blessing of the Waters

In many coastal towns and villages, the blessing of the waters is accompanied by a colourful and lively procession. The local clergy, accompanied by the faithful, parade through the streets carrying religious icons and crosses, and the procession eventually makes its way to the water’s edge. Once there, the priests bless the water with prayers and hymns, and then the cross is thrown into the water. Young men and boys dive into the water to retrieve the cross, and the one who succeeds is believed to be blessed with good luck for the coming year.

The Spirit of Epiphany

Another important aspect of the Epiphany celebrations in Cyprus is the traditional feast that follows the blessing of the waters. Families and friends gather to enjoy a meal together, which typically includes fish and other seafood, as well as traditional Cypriot dishes. It is a time for socializing, feasting, and celebrating the joyous occasion.

The Holy Cross

Loutra Tis Panagias

In some villages, particularly in the Troodos Mountains, a unique tradition called “Loutra tis Panagias” (Bath of the Virgin Mary) is observed on Epiphany. In this tradition, people gather at natural springs and rivers to bathe in the cold water, believing that it has healing properties and can bring good health and prosperity for the year ahead. The Epiphany celebrations in Cyprus also include various cultural and entertainment events, such as folk music and dance performances, traditional games, and other activities that bring communities together in a spirit of joy and unity.

The Epiphany Celebrations

Overall, the Epiphany celebrations in Cyprus are a time of great religious significance, as well as a time for joyous gatherings and festivities. The traditions and customs associated with this holiday are deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of the island and are cherished by both the local population and visitors alike.

The parade


In conclusion, the Epiphany celebrations in Cyprus are a beautiful and meaningful expression of the island’s rich religious heritage and cultural traditions. The blessing of the waters, the traditional feast, and the various customs and rituals associated with the holiday all contribute to the sense of community, joy, and spiritual renewal that characterizes this special day.

By Charlie

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