Friday, November 8, 2013

Kataklysmos - 'The Water Festival' 20.5.1988

This lovely stamp on the beautiful cover with the palm tree slogan was issued in Cyprus on 20.5.1988 to celebrate the Kataklysmos Fair at Larnaca.
Kataklysmos, or the Flood Festival, takes place in Cyprus every year in June50 days after Orthodox Easter. The event takes place on the day that is known also as the day of the Holy Spirit, because it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. In Cyprus, however, the celebrations are connected also to the ancient ceremonies organized in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis.
Water is the main focus of the festival. All coastal cities organize concerts, games and other events near the waterfront. Be ready to get wet if you are at Kataklysmos in June!
Larnaca organizes the biggest Festival of Flood in Cyprus and celebrates Kataklysmos for several days. On the sea front promenade you will find open-air fair with plenty of kiosks selling toys and traditional food. Popular Greek and Cypriot singers and dance troupes perform in Larnaca. There are competitions in the water as well as a contest for chatista, or rhyming songs in the Cypriot dialect.
Larnaca also celebrates Pentecost at the same time. Originally a pagan Cyprus festival to celebrate Aphrodite, it has evolved into a Christian celebration of the Flood.
The festival takes place on the Sunday of Pentecost so the dates change each year. All seaside towns mark the event, although in some towns it is bigger than others. Larnaca usually puts on the biggest show, while in Ayia Napa or Limassol for example, the festivities can last for several days.
Tourists usually arrive early and enjoy the beach first. The event starts when a priest throws a cross into the sea. The diver who retrieves it is given a blessing.
From there the fun begins – prepare to get very, very wet as there are plenty of water fights! Throwing water onto one another here is symbolic of purifying the soul, but it is also a great way to keep cool and most importantly, it’s a lot of fun!
A lot of the celebrations focus on water with swimming competitions, banana boat rides and boat and canoe races taking place but there are also many land based activities to enjoy.
Music and dancing take place in both the streets and in on stages and locals take pleasure in teaching tourists the traditional folk dances of Cyprus.
Local poets hold readings and there are also fairs. This is a celebration that you cannot see anywhere else in the world, so if you really want to see the real Cyprus, this is a festival not to be missed!
Thank you Merja for this wonderful FDC.

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