06 January 2012

Yala Yala - Epiphany 6 January

Metropolitan of Ermionida
Epiphany 6 January

Singing and rocking
The dive

The dignitaries
Cross and icon rescued

The morning of the Epiphany, 6 January, the Metropolitan of Ermionida and Hydra performed the church service, which included the blessing of the water, at the Taxiarches  (Archangels) church, in the old village of Ermioni.   Mass started early in the morning, followed by a procession down to the Limania harbour front, where the priests blessed the sea, followed by the Metropolitan throwing in a wooden cross and icon into the sea.  Young men, who had been drinking the previous night, and who are destined for their military service, sang and rocked the dressed boats, which are moored in the harbour, and dived into the sea to retrieve the cross and icon. The one who gets to the cross first, is blessed with 12 months of good fortune.  This is a very colourful event and is called 'yala-yala'.  After the blessing, the Mayor and other civic dignitaries go back for the blessing and cutting of the Epiphany cake.  Sadly, this traditional historic festival of 'yala-yala' is slowly dying out in Greece, but here in Ermioni, it still continues, and draws in many people from the surrounding areas of Ermionida, to support the tradition. 
http://www.ermioni.info/festivals-in-ermioni (more about Ermioni)
https://www.facebook.com/LemonTreeHouse ('like' this page please)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ermioni-info/sets/ (more images)

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