Cyprus, Nicosia

What is 'Fota' or how is Epiphany celebrated in Cyprus?

Updated: 2 weeks ago

The celebration of Epiphany in Cyprus is called "Fota," and it is not only a religious holiday but also an official public holiday.

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How is the Fota holiday celebrated in Cyprus?

Epiphany in Cyprus is also known as the day of Saint Epiphanius. Everyone celebrates the holiday joyfully, visiting each other and going to cafes. Everywhere there are dances, songs, and contests.

On the Mediterranean coast of Cyprus, the Blessing of the Waters ceremony takes place on the day of Epiphany. The local bishop, accompanied by the congregation, goes to the shore with a large cross, which is then immersed in the sea while prayers are recited. Many island residents pre-bless the water in churches and use it to sprinkle their homes, the surrounding land, and even their livestock.

There is a belief that taking fire from the lamp in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary after the service can bring prosperity to the home and protect it from evil spirits.

What gifts are given on Epiphany?

On this day, children collect the largest harvest of gifts, receiving souvenirs from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and guests. The gifts can be diverse: money, treats, books, toys. Particularly valuable congratulations come from godparents.

What should not be done on this day?

It is important to refrain from frivolity and the use of water on this holy day. It is not customary to visit the bathhouse, take a bath, do laundry, or clean. It is better to take care of personal cleanliness and the cleanliness of the house in advance, to celebrate the holiday in a favorable environment.

Frequent questions about holidays in Cyprus

What other religious holidays are celebrated in Cyprus?

In addition to Epiphany, several other religious holidays are also celebrated at the national level: the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15th), Easter, Clean Monday, Bright Monday, and Good Friday.

What secular public holidays are there in Cyprus?

  • March 25th - Greek National Day
  • April 1st - Day of the beginning of the national liberation struggle
  • May 1st - Labor Day
  • October 1st - Cyprus Independence Day
  • October 28th - Ohi Day
  • Kataklysmos - the 50th day after Orthodox Easter

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