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Mary Fairchild

What is Epiphany?

By January 5, 2014

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Orthodox Christians Celebrate Epiphany
If you were fortunate enough to grow up in a town such as Tarpon Springs, Florida, where I attended high school, then you're probably quite familiar with some of the unique cultural celebrations associated with Epiphany. What I remember vividly about this ancient church holiday is skipping school each year on Epiphany to see many of my classmates (young men ages 16-18 of the Greek Orthodox faith) dive into the chilly waters of Spring Bayou to retrieve the cherished cross.

The "blessing of waters" and "diving for the cross" ceremonies were famous in our predominately Greek community, and that fame was shared for a year by one special Greek classmate who had the honor of recovering the crucifix and receiving the traditional full-year's blessing.

Today, after more than 100 years of celebrating this tradition, the annual Greek Orthodox festival in Tarpon Springs will continue to draw large crowds, yet many observers may not understand the spiritual significance behind these Epiphany ceremonies.

Learn More: What is Epiphany?

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Photo: David Silverman / Getty Images

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