The Celebration Of Epiphany In Greece

  • by XpatAthens
  • Wednesday, 06 January 2021
The Celebration Of Epiphany In Greece
On January 6th, Greek people celebrate “Ta Phota” or “Theofania” or “Epiphania,” which stands for the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. It is a significant Greek celebration and the last one of the 12-day celebration period, starting on Christmas day. It is also a National Holiday, so public services, most shops, and businesses are closed.

In case you happen to be in Greece on January 5th and 6th, then here is what you can expect or experience:  In the morning of January 5th, Greek children sing–once again–from door to door. The song they sing is not that known as the Christmas’ or the New Years’ carols, but also beautiful.

Click here to listen to the song. 
If you are curious to see how children sing the Epiphany carols, click here

On the morning of January 6th, people gather at a specific waterside location where the priest throws the cross in the water. Depending on the region, the cross is thrown in the sea, river, or lake. In mountainous areas or in Athens, the cross can also be thrown in a fountain.

Young men will dive or jump in the water and try to catch the holy cross. The person that will catch it, will have a lot of luck this year. Take a look at this video, to get a better idea.

The Epiphany tradition goes back to ancient Greece, and particularly to a feast which was called “Plintiria” (=washing machines). During this feast, the Athenians carried the statue of Athena to the coast of Faliro (close to Piraeus) to wash it in the sea, to make sure it would keep its magic powers.

Don't forget that on January 6th, a lot of people have their Name Day as well: Fotis, Foteini, Theofanis, Theofania, Fani, Ourania, Iordanis. You can wish them: Xronia Polla! Χρόνια Πολλά!

If you want to learn other Greek wishes you can use for Name Days, National Holidays or Social Occasions, you are welcome to download the “Greek Wishes For Social Occasions” FREE eBOOK, including Audio for the correct pronunciation.


Omilo Greek Language and Culture inspires people from all over the world to learn Greek, while exploring Greece. They offer 1- and 2-week courses for adults that combine beautiful course locations, experienced teachers, and a balanced combination of Greek classes with cultural activities. All these make Omilo a place where people enjoy learning modern Greek and have fun.

Besides the courses, Omilo also creates online publications to help adults expand their language skills through Language Books and eBooks for different language levels.