Every January 6, the “Greek” village of Tarpon Springs amasses attention during its celebrations for the Epiphany day of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Tarpon Springs “Cross Dive” is both a religious ceremony and a community event, as well as a major tourist magnet.
Dozens of boys dive in the chilly waters of a bayou nearby in order to retrieve the wooden cross tossed in by a priest. This day celebrates the baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan. Therefore, the boy who gets the cross is considered blessed with God’s grace throughout the year.
Almost 27% of Tarpon Springs’ overall population is Greek, with the Mediterranean influence evident everywhere.
The city’s population is expected to at least double for the cross dive event of January 6 and the Greek festival following it.
Most probably, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church in America will be the one to toss the cross into the water this year, while sixty boys between 16 and 18 years old will dive into the Spring Bayou.