A Greek Orthodox festival with strong pagan roots focusing primarily on water, Kataklysmos or Festival of the Flood marks the day of the Holy Spirit.
Coastal cities make the most of the opportunity, staging concerts and games near the waterfront, but even inhabitants of inland towns and particularly children – their water guns a necessary accessory, enjoy a good ‘splash’. The feast of the Pentecost or Whitsun is marked 50 days after Greek Orthodox Easter. It is known also as the day of the Holy Spirit as it celebrates the descent of the Holy Ghost to the Apostles.
In Cyprus, the celebrations also hark back to the Old Testament tale of Noah’s Ark, the Greek myth of Deukalion and ancient ceremonies in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis. Larnaka is particularly proud of the festivities it puts on for several days to celebrate Kataklysmos.
The sea front promenade takes on the appearance of an open-air fair with scores of stalls selling toys and traditional food. Traditional culture takes pride of place with a competition for chatista or rhyming songs in the Cypriot dialect. Other performers include popular Greek and Cypriot singers and dance troupes. In line with the spirit of the celebrations, events include competitions in the water.