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Grey clouds and bad mood on Epiphany

06 January 2012 / 16:01:40  GRReporter
1870 reads

Victoria Mindova


Nikos a 14-year-old boy was the one to get the cross in the waters of the pool of the National Sports Union in Athens on Epiphany. "I wish you all a good year," said the child who was slightly embarrassed by the cameras focused on him. Among 15 children aged between eleven and fourteen years he was the fastest and most skillful one. After Nikos caught the cross, he kissed it and gave it to the other children. In turn they kissed it, as the tradition requires, for good health and success during the year. Parents and other observers hailed the success of the children and greeted them with loud applauseafter they came out of the water.

The ceremony was attended by the mayor of the capital George Kaminis, the Minister of Education Anna Diamandopoulou, the MP from New Democracy Evripidis Stylianidis and other official guests.

Unlike other years, this time the sixth of January was accompanied by clouds, strong wind and drizzle. Children stayed in the cold while the priest sanctified the waters of the pool and officers from the municipal police service had to hold their hats for the wind not to blow them off.

The Christian holiday was marred by one more event in addition to the bad weather, that followed after the celebration of Epiphany. After George Kaminis awarded honours to young Nikos for his agility, official guests and politicians began to back out from the official stand one by one and headed for the exit of the open yard of the National Sports Union. Municipal policemen pushed ordinary citizens to the ends of the fence for the mayor and other political representatives to be able to go out. An unpleasant surprise was waiting for them on the street in front.

Officials were greeted with shouts and catcalls by about 10 people. They held a banner reading "Unemployment can seriously harm your health" and shouting "Shame on you! You ruined the country and now you're also going to sell it! Where is the money?". Protesters were angry and bitter, but not aggressive. Representatives of the government, municipal authorities and other political forces walked past them as if the dissenters were transparent and with the sound turned off.

Somewhere in the crowd behind applause was heard as a sign of support for the symbolic protest to the current situation in Greece. Others shouted "Stop obscuring the holiday." The pride in the courage of the young swimmers who all attending had shared just a moment before was gone. One little girl who came with her parents to see how the cross was taken out of the water on Epiphany asked her father "Dad, why are these women shouting?", pointing at the protesters. He answered that they had lost something and now they were angry and trying to get it back.

Tags: society Epiphany Kaminis protests
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