The Theofania or Blessing of the Waters ceremony is held to commemorate the religious feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist
The Theofania or Blessing of the Waters ceremony is held to commemorate the religious feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist.
This event is organised under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and is held on the Sunday in January following Epiphany day. In 2012 it will be held on January 8 at Station Pier Port Melbourne. It is an exciting and colourful festival full of tradition and cultural festivities.
The ceremony of Theofania involves the Bishop blessing the waters and releasing white doves, symbolising the Holy Spirit. As a sign of peace and goodwill, the Bishop then throws the traditional blessed wooden Cross into the sea. Young people then dive from a fishing craft into the sea, in an attempt to retrieve the Cross. It is a traditional belief that whoever retrieves the Cross receives God's blessings. The successful diver also receives a golden chain with a crucifix from the Archdiocese to commemorate the event. All other divers also receive a commemorative medallion from the Bishop.
After the religious ceremony, the festivities commence with traditional food, music and folk dancing which takes place at centre stage. There are also rides and activities for both children and adults.
This event is being held this year for the 28th consecutive year. It draws crowds of up to 5,000 throughout the day. Melburnians, irrespective of ethnic background, have participated and enjoyed the cultural festivities of the day.
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