The customs of Cephalonia, Greece, on the day of the Epiphany

New Year’s Day puts an end to the stress caused by various festivities, obligations, hectic preparations and religious rituals.

During this period of relaxation, hobgoblins, known as “Kalikantzaroi” in Greek, pop up and take the chance to get into mischief in the towns and villages they wander around. According to local tradition, they look like young children and are called “pagana”, pixies. The women of Cephalonia island burn incense at the front door of their houses and make the sign of the cross over it three times in order to exorcise these spirits.

On Cephalonia, the solemn blessing of the waters takes place on the eve of the Epiphany. Before priest’s arrival, the women take the ashes of the fireplace or the wood heater out of the house.

On the day of the Epiphany, January 6th, the local women knead bread which is also known as “Fotitsa”. The term “Fota” or “Theophania” is synonym of the word Epiphany in Greek.

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