January 2024

The Greek Orthodox Blessing of the Waters event returns to Henley Beach this January

The festival will feature traditional dance performances, live music by the renowned local band ‘Kerasma Live’, and an array of delectable Greek cuisine, including the much-loved loukoumades.

The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) is set to host its annual Blessing of the Waters event on Sunday, January 7, 2024, in celebration of Epiphany Day. This vibrant event, attracting hundreds of visitors, will be held at the picturesque Henley Beach foreshore in Adelaide. The day’s festivities will begin at noon, with clergy, parishioners, and guests gathering at the start of the jetty for a ceremonial procession to its end, where the Blessing of the Waters will take place.

Epiphany Day, a significant date in the Orthodox Church, commemorates the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. This feast marks the conclusion of the 12 days of Christmas, symbolising the end of the holiday season and ushering in a period of spiritual renewal and inner purification.

In a heartfelt message to GOCSA, the Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas, expressed his admiration for the event: “On this special occasion, we celebrate the strength and unity of the spiritual ties that bind the Greek diaspora here in our great state and around the world. The Blessing of the Waters ceremony combines the richness of ancient and contemporary Greek traditions and culture. The joyous celebrations that follow showcase the generous hospitality for which our Greek community has been so well known for generations.”

Peter Gardiakos, President of GOCSA, reflected on the deeper meaning of the event: “The Church’s wish for divine enlightenment always remains relevant and timeless. It reminds us that nothing is taken for granted and that we all need to be united in our moral duty to defend the universal principles and values of humanity, solidarity, democracy, justice, and peace. The never-ending Light of Christianity is a light of love and inclusion without judgement. May the blessings of Epiphany inspire us to navigate the currents of life with faith and resilience.”

Following the sacred ceremony, attendees will be treated to a traditional Greek Festival, promising an immersive cultural experience. The festival will feature traditional dance performances, live music by the renowned local band ‘Kerasma Live’, and an array of delectable Greek cuisine, including the much-loved loukoumades (Greek honey puffs).

Hellas Lucas, Chair of the GOCSA Cultural Committee, shared her excitement about the event: “The tradition of the Blessing of the Waters, or ‘Theofania’ as we know it, is such a beautiful event that all South Australians can look forward to. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the Greek community to showcase our culture, traditions, food, and dance. This year, in anticipation of a much larger event, we have added more marquees with undercover seating, more food, and more entertainment which is headed by a brilliant local band ’Kerasma Live’ who have put together a traditional Greek musical program for everyone to enjoy.”

The Epiphany Day celebration at Henley Beach is a vibrant, inclusive festival that brings together the best of Greek culture, tradition, and community spirit. It’s an invitation to all South Australians to partake in a day of joy, unity, and cultural richness, marking a significant moment in the Greek Orthodox calendar.

What: Blessing of the Waters
When: Sunday, January 7, 2024
Where: Henley Square, Henley Beach
More info: gocsa.org.au

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