It happens every year on the 6th of January. The guy in the white beard arrives and there are thousands waiting with anticipation. But, it's not Santa. It's the local Greek Orthodox Priest who has come for the Great Blessing of Waters - known as the day of Theofania or Epiphany. It is an Orthodox celebration of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. The video below captures some of the fun.
The priest blesses the waters and throws a cross in the sea. Whoever reaches the cross first is blessed for the rest of the year - only good fortune is said to follow them. Whereas in other parts of the world it is winter and it is freezing cold, in Australia the summer weather allows for a great celebration which is followed by much eating, drinking and dancing by all participants.
The images and video below are from this year's celebration which took place at Rye Pier and Beach in Rye... a beautiful Melbourne beachside suburb, Australia. Enjoy.