Home Culture New Year’s and Epiphany celebrations throughout Attica

New Year’s and Epiphany celebrations throughout Attica

New Year's and Epiphany celebrations throughout Attica

Like every year, the whole region of Attica welcomed 2019 with impressive celebrations.
Under the sacred rock of the Acropolis, in Thission, Athenians and visitors of the city said goodbye to 2018, enjoying a stunning audiovisual spectacle, organised by the City of Athens, with stilt walkers, jugglers, plenty of music and impressive fireworks.
The curtain opened with the City of Athens Philharmonic Orchestra, which enchanted the audience with wonderful Christmas melodies, accompanied by a stilt walkers and circus artists show. After the countdown, countless spectacular fireworks lit up the sky above the Acropolis, creating images that traveled around the world, through major foreign broadcast networks. The festivities continued with wonderful Greek music and a party that lasted until morning light.
 
Over 13,000 visitors welcomed 2019 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC). Hundreds of fireworks lit up the sky at midnight, creating a breathtaking spectacle. At the same time, the renowned DJ and musician, Huey Morgan, signaled the beginning of the party that took place in the Agora. Earlier, the Stavros Niarchos Hall was filled with the music of the Italian singer Mario Biondi, and the broadcasting of the New Year’s Eve Berliner Philharmoniker’s concert.
Right after the change of year, the SNF RUN: 2019 FIRST RUN kicked off. Runners covered a distance of 4 km, along the lit Canal and the Esplanade, as far as the Water Square, and returned through the illuminated Stavros Niarchos Park.
 
New Year’s Eve at the Acropolis Museum was extremely… melodic. The music ensemble “Metallon” of the Athens State Orchestra performed famous Christmas cinema and jazz music works.
 
As always, hotels in Attica organised the most impressive and fascinating New Year’s parties, full of music, delicious flavours and magic. Lavish gourmet dinners in atmospheric roof gardens with stunning view.
 
Everywhere in Attica, after the traditional New Year’s dinner at home with the whole family and the seasonal customs and traditions for good fortune and prosperity, people went out to have fun and enjoy the festive nightlife in Attica. In bars and music stages, the party went on until morning light.
 
Those who were fortunate enough to be around the port of Piraeus right at the start of the year, enjoyed the fascinating atmosphere created by the ships’ bells, whistles, or air horns, from Piraeus to Keratsini and Perama. This unique festive “pandemonium” is accompanied every year by impressive fireworks displays in the sky above Piraeus port.
 
Yet another year, New Year’s Eve traditions were practiced in all islands of Attica. In Hydra, right at the change of year, festivities begin with cannon fire at the Castle of Cavos, along with fireworks and church bell ringing throughout the island. During the day, Santa Claus comes to Hydra and gives away presents to all children. The first day of the year, all houses are open, waiting for the first visitor who will enter the household. The houselord welcomes the visitor, hangs their New Year’s present around their neck with a ribbon and invites them to the festive supper.
 
Epiphany in Attica
 
Every year, on 6 January, Epiphany is celebrated all around Attica, with the traditional Sanctification of the Waters. Early in the morning, children go out in all neighbourhoods to sing the Epiphany Carols, door-to-door, announcing the joyous event.
The day before, the “Small Sanctification” takes place. Priests go to all houses within their parish and “sanctify” them, with a cross in one hand and a basil twig in the other, spraying holy water in all rooms, to cast away the “evil” and bring happiness into the household.
On the day of the Epiphany, the “Great Sanctification” takes place, with a large procession starting from every church and ending by the sea. The priest throws the Cross into the water, in order to sanctify it. At the same time, the ships’ air horns and churches’ bells ring joyously, while young swimmers dive into the cold waters to catch the Cross and receive the priest’s blessings.
 
Like every year, Epiphany was celebrated gloriously in Piraeus, the greatest port of Greece, while in Attica’s islands the Sanctification of Waters was held in sunny weather, attracting crowds of people.
 
In Aegina, the priests and congregants of three churches of the island walk to the port pier every year, where they sanctify the waters. In Hydra the solemn procession heads to the port, passing through the old neighbourhoods of the island, up to the Kala Pigadia square, where priests proceed with the sanctification of the two wells. Later in the day, the procession reaches the port of Hydra, where the priests throw the Cross into the sea, and simultaneously three pigeons are released in the air. Apart from the central port of the island, waters are also sanctified at the port of Kamini, to ensure sailors’ good health and good travels.
 
In Kythera, the historical Cathedral of Estavromenos in Chora is at the centre of Epiphany celebrations. According to the local tradition, the altar with the Epiphany Holy Water is decorated with local citrus fruit, since on this particular day the whole of nature and its produce are sanctified.

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