Epiphany ‘Fota’: The 12th day of Christmas – 6th January
The festival of Epiphany (6 January) is a national public holiday known in Cyprus as ‘Ta Fota’ which means ‘the light’ and is a big festival that celebrates the baptism of Christ and celebrations take place in all the harbours. The Bishop leads a procession of school children and members of various youth organisations accompanied by the local band along to the harbour. During the Epiphany service, the Bishop dramatically tosses his processional cross into the sea to bless the waters and scores of local lads dive in quickly to retrieve it – he who does is ensured of good luck for the year!
Locals spend time in the harbour area and wander, dressed in their best clothes enjoying a tray of lokoumades (tiny honey-soaked doughnuts) bought from roadside stalls. Away from the hustle and bustle of the festivities, some of the older Cypriots may quietly wash their fruit and vegetables in the blessed seawater to ensure that they have a bountiful harvest in the autumn.
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