The Festival of The Flood, aka Kataklysmos

Kataklysmos, aka Festival of the Flood

18th to 21st June 2021
Kataklysmos, aka The Festival of the Flood, is one of the many Orthodox festivals that take place every year and is one of Cyprus’ favourites.  Although we don’t know the exact
origins of the festival, the name ‘Kataklysmos’ refers to the biblical flood, i.e. Noah’s Ark, and we interpret it hence …

Joyful Procession
The feast day commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, 50 days after Easter.  In Genesis we have Noah and in Greek myth, Deukalion and his wife who are saved to give birth to a new and moral generation.  Hence, one of the most popular customs and arguably the most fun is a joyful procession to the sea where people sprinkle and often throw water over each other, symbolising the purification of the body as well as the soul … Hmm, I’m taking a bucket with me!

Song & Dance
The ceremonies take place in all coastal towns and resorts and celebrations include folk dances, canoe, and boat races, swimming competitions, wrestling and the bellowing of popular songs such as Tchattista, aka Cypriot Rap, haha! …  which are improvised verses sung by different parties competing with each other.  The Cypriots love any chance to sing and dance and thrive on playing off against each other, entertaining themselves and the crowds … It’s a really wonderful experience!

On the Day
Following service, the priest leads the way to the harbour, where he blesses the sea, and throws a precious cross into the water, then the young and brave, or not so young and foolish, dive to retrieve the cross.  Entertaining, especially to those who watch, these events reflect the spirit of the day.  The diver who hands the cross back to the Priest receives his blessing and also the prize of a sovereign, … after this, the festival begins!!! …

The music and song of yesterday is now combined with the popular music of today, some very famous Greek Singers will be performing during the Festivals around Cyprus and street vendors still sell their wares to carefree crowds who dress up and ‘promenade’ with their families.  Many events continue into the evening and delicious local products, such as barbecued corn on the cob, locally grown nuts, loukoumades, and sousouko, can be found for sale.

These days we see an increasing amount of Beach Bars, Beach Parties and Nightclubs jump onto the bandwagon and arrange events along the coast as residents of Nicosia and all the other inland residents swarm down to the coast for a long weekend!

The Sea
This week is all about the sea and water.  So, naturally, you can just spend all day laying next to the sea … any excuse to get your toes wet and top up the tan!

Tony Dynamou

Here’s a few photos of the annual water fight on the beach at Silver Sands Beach Hotel in Protaras. Courtesy of Paralimni Youth