The Blessing of the Waters

The Blessing of the Waters is an important event in all countries where the Greek Church prevails. In Greece the “Great Blessing,” as it is called, is performed in various ways according to the locality; sometimes the sea is blessed, sometimes a river or reservoir, sometimes merely water in a church. In seaport towns, where the people depend on the water for their living, the celebration has much pomp and elaborateness. At the Piraeus enormous and enthusiastic crowds gather, and there is a solemn procession of the bishop and clergy to the harbour, where the bishop throws a little wooden cross, held by a long blue ribbon, into the water, withdraws it dripping wet, and sprinkles the bystanders. This is done three times. At Nauplia and other places a curious custom prevails: the archbishop throws a wooden cross into the waters of the harbour, and the fishermen of the place dive in after it and struggle for its possession; he who wins it has the right of visiting all the houses of the town and levying a collection, which often brings in a large sum. In Samos all the women send to the church a vessel full of water to be blessed by the priest; with this water the fields and the trees are sprinkled. –Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add a blessing ritual to your story.

Journaling Prompt: Write about water and the blessings it brings to your life.

Art Prompt: The Blessing of the Water

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how rituals create a sense of community and suggest how we can recapture this in our increasingly secular world.

Photo Credit: Whitstable Oyster Festival on Flickr

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