Thursday, January 06, 2011

Epiphany in Cyprus

Epiphany is quite a big deal in Cyprus. The population is mainly Greek Orthodox, but they don't celebrate Christmas today (unlike the Coptic Orthodox). However, it's yet another public holiday. Schools don't start again until next Monday, and most businesses and shops were closed today, other than the tourist ones.

A big tradition in Larnaka is that a large cross is thrown into the sea during the morning, and then several young men dive to try and retrieve it. In a slightly odd mixture of religious fervour and superstition, it's done after a ceremony by priests, and whoever finds it is supposed to have good luck for the rest of the year. We went to watch this ceremony once, many years ago, but it wasn't interesting enough to go again. At least it was warm today, and the sea isn't as chilly as it can sometimes be at this time of year.

Anyway, as it was a day off work, Richard and his sailing friend Tim decided that it would be a good day for their respective families to have a picnic on King Malu, recently returned to the water after her short dry-dock period. I had not been on her in the water at all, but, I was assured, the gangplank was complete, and the boat - despite an outboard at the back - able to be reversed into the berth so long as there wasn't too much wind.

They had thought about going out for a gentle sail today, but there wasn't any wind at all expected. So they went down at 8.30, hoping to get there before the traffic around the sea-front became impossible (due to the Epiphany ceremony), to turn the boat around to make it easier to get on and off.

Late morning, Tim's daughters arrived to collect me, and while it might have been quicker to walk, given the amount of traffic around the Larnaka marina, we reached King Malu eventually. She was, indeed, reversed into place:

And while the gangplank was a little scary, I made it to the boat. Here's the evidence - all four of us who were persuaded to join the guys:

Unfortunately the very slight motion of the boat from side to side was actually more disturbing to my insides than I've ever before noticed on any kind of boat. However, we were given halloumi and tomato rolls (very good they were too) and I felt better for eating.

Here's Richard's description of the morning, including details about manoevering King Malu around to make this possible.

We only stayed a little over an hour. Rather dark grey clouds were coming in overhead, and we didn't want to be caught in more rain.

We had to drive back along the sea-front... and to my surprise (having not ventured into town on Epiphany for some years) there were stalls and booths up right along. I suppose it's another chance to make money, catching tourists who aren't used to euros, and will happily buy junk while on holiday:

1 comment:

James said...

Hi Sue,

I've taken a look around your numerous websites and reading about your families' move to Cyprus and subsequent settling on the island is really fascinating. Cyprus is a magical place and somewhere I would love to get back to more often.

I would be very interested in writing a guest post for one or a few of your website if this is something that would be of interest to you?

I am trying to gain exposure for a blog I write about Cyprus

I would love to write a leisure themed piece that might be of interest to your readers e.g. things to do in Cyprus, places you must visit etc. It would be unique and exclusive to your website.

All the best,