The World's Largest Epiphany Celebration Annual Event in Tarpon Springs
For the past 100 years, hundreds have flocked to this small Pinellas County town to witness an ancient tradition - the Epiphany Celebration.
The Christian tradition, which takes place every January 6, includes teenage boys from the city diving for a cross thrown into the water, which is a signature event in Tarpon Springs. The celebration commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River some 2,000 years ago. The youngster that emerges is promised a year of good luck.
In Tarpon, the celebration is a day-long event and is a special time to experience all that the charming Greek town has to offer. In addition to the community, droves of tourists and onlookers come to the city to experience the historic event.
If you’re interested in witnessing the event, here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of the celebration:
The key to a great Epiphany experience is arriving early enough to get a good view of the water. The diving takes place at Spring Bayou in the center of Tarpon Springs. St. Nicholas Cathedral is the host of the annual Epiphany celebration. Dozens of teen boys are selected to dive. The day begins with an almost four hour 8 a.m. mass before the diving. So get to the bayou around 10 a.m. if you want a truly good view.
After the successful lad emerges from the water the entire community gathers for food, libations and live music. So be sure to head back to St. Nichola Cathedral, located at 348 N Pinellas Ave, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. There you’ll find not only authentic Greek food but Greek folk dancing and entertainment.
No visit to Tarpon Springs would be complete without a visit to the Sponge Docks. It’s the destination that birthed the industry that made Tarpon Springs thrive for much of the last century. Located along Dodecanese Boulevard you’ll find historic vestiges of the sponging industry like Spongerama Sponge Factory but you’ll also find several authentic Greek restaurants, shops with handmade goods, and decadent Greek treats.
Make a weekend of your Epiphany experience. Check out affordable rates at the nearby Holiday Inn Express & Suites Trinity.