Epiphany

  • SumoMe

Epiphany

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I’ve always wanted to see the Epiphany celebration.

But all I had was a place, date and faint memory of asking what time the ceremony took place and somebody dramatically rolling their eyes to the sky and nearly crying “Early! Very early!”

I decided to walk the two miles across town before sunrise.

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The town was quiet with only a faint hint of light in the sky. Little wisp of fog swirled in the rain and lamps among the promenade reflected on wet pavement. Sea met sky in matching hues of blue giving the illusion of fishing boats suspended in some otherworldly realm.

Rain

 

I am not religious nor do I believe in deities. I often walk blindly and – I dare say – ignorantly through modern day Greek customs. All of this reinforced years ago after attending the funeral of somebody who played a big part in my life. With focus on one of the many serious faced icons, I agonized over my inability to understand what was happening.

Years have passed and I have not stepped foot in a church since.

All of this I contemplated while sitting on the beach staring into blue.

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What is Epiphany?

What is epiphany? To me the word conjures images of the Nine Muses inspiring ancient thinkers, artists, and scientist. Or Archimedes running naked in the ancient streets of Athens shouting Eureka! after figuring out the solution to a tedious problem.

When I asked what Epiphany is, I was given a few answers (along with surprised looks). To Christians, Epiphany is actually the combination of two major events in the life of Jesus. One being visited by three kings and the other being baptized. And if I understand correctly, the whole purpose behind the Epiphany Holiday is to celebrate the manifestation of his very existence.

During the ceremony a priest throws a wooden cross into the sea. A group of men brave the winter rain and chilling temperatures and jump into the water.

Whoever retrieves the cross is blessed with health for that year.

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The Curious Dog

Likely a stray, the dog seemed to sense something in the air as he ventured out to the port. As people began to gather he found himself trapped. I became fearful he would jump into the sea and drown, but he turned and confidently ventured into the crowd.

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The divers, I felt so terrible for them. It was cold and the water even colder. – See more at: http://mellissa.sygraphe.com/?p=1468&preview=true#sthash.FfKjRhut.dpuf

The divers, I felt so terrible for them. It was cold and the water even colder.

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Suddenly a boat horn blared and the group of men jumped into the sea. The crowd let out a gasp as if feeling their cold.

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The dog had returned and was extremely excited. He had seen the cross being thrown and was fighting his instincts to jump after it.

As the crowd laughed it occurred to me that I had been smiling the whole time.

Epiphany. Cross thrown into the sea.

 

Epiphany

 

 

The cross is retrieved and brought back to the priest.

Epiphany

 

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Epiphany

 

After the ceremony, people swiftly turned away and made a rush for the warmth of the cafes.

As I walked home, the rain and wind began to pick up.

But I didn’t mind.

It was beautiful.

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