Cyprus, Nicosia

Kataklysmos in Cyprus: what is the celebration and how is it observed

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Kataklysmos is not only a significant and important holiday for Cypriots, but it is also unique in many ways: it is a mixture of ancient Greek and Christian traditions.

Катаклизмос на Кипре

Essence of the Kataklysmos Holiday

The name «Κατακλυσμός» translates to "flood" or "deluge," referring to the biblical flood described in the story of Noah's Ark. This holiday is celebrated annually on Pentecost, fifty days after Easter. In 2024, it falls on June 24.

The holiday has roots in both ancient Greek traditions and Christian customs. It marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, as observed in Christian teachings. Additionally, it is believed to originate from ancient Greek rites dedicated to the god Apollo and the goddess Aphrodite, who were closely associated with water and fertility.

It is a special festival in Cyprus that combines religious rituals with ancient traditions and lively celebrations centered around water. It is a testament to the vibrant cultural identity of the island.

Events at Kataklysmos

The festival takes place mainly in coastal cities, with some of the most notable being Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, and Ayia Napa. The shows are a bright mix of religious ceremonies, folk traditions, and entertainment events, with water playing a central role.

  • In 2024, Kataklysmos falls on June 24

Religious Rites

Church services are held in honor of Pentecost. These ceremonies often include processions and the blessing of water, symbolizing purification and renewal. In coastal cities, this is accompanied by a procession led by church officials towards the sea.

Water Games and Entertainment

A distinctive feature of Kataklysmos is the wide range of water-related games and competitions. People participate in swimming races, boat races, and various water sports. Also popular are splash contests and games involving splashing water at each other, reflecting the festival's theme. It is somewhat reminiscent of Songkran in Thailand.

Folk Traditions

Traditional Cypriot music and dances are an integral part of the celebration. Folklore performances, including poetic recitations known as "tsiattista" (a form of verbal duel), add to the festive atmosphere. Local craftsmen and vendors set up stalls offering handmade items, traditional dishes, and sweets. The festival overall has a very carnival-like atmosphere: fairs, rides, and various entertainments for families and visitors of all ages.

Frequently Asked Questions about Important Holidays in Cyprus

What other holidays are there in Cyprus?

At the national level, Cyprus celebrates not only secular dates but also some religious holidays. See the full list of public holidays in Cyprus.

When is Cyprus Independence Day?

Cyprus Independence Day is celebrated annually on October 1. However, this date was chosen artificially for convenience, to hold the main national holiday in more pleasant weather, avoiding the summer heat. Read about how Cyprus Independence Day is celebrated.

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