top of page

Epiphany Ceremony 
in Istanbul

One of many reasons why I love living in Istanbul is that I can witness variant practices of different cultures. This city has a big mixture of different communities as well as religions, races and ethnicities. 


Every year, on the 6th January, Greek Orthodox Christians living in Istanbul, reenact the baptism of Christ by celebrating Epiphany. This ritual is started in churches followed by a traditional cross throwing ceremony. In this ceremony, a wooden cross is thrown into the Bosphorus by a priest then swimmers race to catch it first.


It takes place in coastal towns such as Kuzguncuk, Çengelköy, Yeniköy as well as in Balat, home to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Community since the 15th century. 


It's a very "Istanbulite moment" to watch this ceremony and see the pride in the eyes of the winners. 

bottom of page