Monday, June 9, 2014

Kataklysmos

Kataklysmos (also known as the Flood Festival and Pentecost) is a public holiday in Cyprus that's celebrated fifty days after Easter.  This year, the holiday is on June 9, 2014.
 


Pentecost is the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, as explained in the biblical book of Acts:
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues [languages] as the Spirit enabled them.  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, as crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language."  Acts 2:1-6

This holiday in Cyprus celebrates Pentecost and Kataklysmos, which honors Noah, Deukalion, and Aphrodite.  The Greek word, kataklysmos, is derived from another Greek word, cataclysm, which is used to describe the biblical flood with Noah and the ark.  According to Greek mythology, Deukalion built an ark to survive some floods, while this day is when Aphrodite was foamed in the sea foam near Cyprus.

 


To celebrate, there are various street fairs and festivals along the main cities' seafront promenades and municipal gardens in Cyprus.  In 2014, there are main Kataklysmos festivals in Ayia Napa, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, and Polis Chrysochous.

One tradition is that before the festivities begin in the morning, a Greek Orthodox priest throws a crucifix into the Mediterranean Sea, as a competition for divers to find it.  The winner receives a blessing from that priest.

Water fights are a main highlight of the holiday, since traditionally water is considered a symbol of purifying the soul.  However, the water fights are mostly promoted as a fun activity on these hot weather days.




To view a list of the 2014 public holidays in Cyprus, please click HERE As the year progresses, plan to visit this blog to view updates and descriptions of the various Cypriot holidays.

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