The celebration of Kataklysmos is a Greek Orthodox festival with strong pagan roots relating back to the Greek myth of Deukalion and the ark he built to survive the floods and ancient ceremonies between Aphrodite and Adonis. The festival also relates to the Old Testament tale of Noah’s ark. Kataklysmos is still celebrated with great passion every year all over Cyprus. The festivities take place 50 days after Easter, therefore, the date changes yearly in accordance with the date of Easter. In English Kataklysmos is known as Pentecost or Whitsun – the day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples of Jesus.
Seafront promenades are full of stalls selling traditional food and toys. Competitions are held in rhyming songs in the Cypriot dialect. Swimming, boat, and canoe races are held and dance troupes perform the traditional dances of the island. Before any of this begins, however, the first official event of the day must take place – a priest throws a crucifix into the sea and there is usually a fierce competition between divers (generally young men) to retrieve it. The winner receives a blessing from the priest.
Now the fun begins. Water fights with water pistols (symbolic of purifying the soul), music and dancing in the streets and on stage, and vast amounts of delicious food.
On this day, even in the towns, the main accessory for children is a water gun, filled to capacity and ready to use!!
In Paphos, don’t miss the festivities at the Kato Paphos harbour that takes place several days before and after the holiday which takes place on Monday, June 24th, 2013. The day is also a National Holiday.