Yesterday morning we went down to the marina to see the local Greek Orthodox Church celebrate the Blessing of the Waters. It was mentioned in the newspaper and said to be open to the public. I tend to be a bit of a religious tourist, so off we went.
When we arrived, we discovered that we were possibly the only people present who were not parishioners other than the harbor patrol. The little congregation was grouped around their priest on a spot on the T-head curb. In the water below was a small patrol boat.
Most of the congregation was tightly clumped around the priest, including a group of boys in swim trunks who looked to be in their early teens. The parishioners closest to the priest were singing liturgy, with various levels of paying attention further out. Out in the fringes, people were having casual conversations. A few women in the group had out their phones or cameras, making recordings. I took these to be the mothers or other relatives of the boys in swim trunks. I decided that it would be safe to take a picture, given the number of cameras out.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the priest held up a cross painted silver ( think it was wood, whatever it was, it floated), and tossed it with an invocation into the harbor. The boys in swim trunks frantically tossed themselves in after it. That was all over quickly. Although yesterday was mild weather, in the low sixties, I can’t imagine that the bay was a pleasant temperature for swimming. Other congregations in less temperate locations must have blue boys! They were also lucky that the bay wasn’t choppy– no breeze at all yesterday. You can see how still it is in my picture.
Cross retrieved, boys safely on the coast guard boat with anxious moms filming and/or throwing towels, we zipped off home. Interesting tradition. I’m glad that the ceremony was open to the public and hope it wasn’t too weird for them to have actual strangers show up.