The History of Tarpon Springs Epiphany 1903

Updated: Dec 11, 2021



The History of Tarpon Springs Epiphany 1903


The Orthodox Christian celebrates Epiphany on January 6th of each year, in remembrance of the baptism of our Jesus Christ in the water of Jordan River 2000 ago. In the old country, Jesus Christ baptismal day was celebrated with spiritual emotion and long procession. Following tradition, the Greek community established that January the 6th of each year will be celebrated with the sanctification of the waters and the immersion of the cross in the Spring bayou on “Cross Day” or “Epiphany”. The first observance of Epiphany in Tarpon Springs was celebrated by the first settlers in 1903 and was held in an Episcopal church which was attended by few people. In the next few years, as the news spread throughout USA and Canada, devoted Greeks and Americans made the pilgrimage from all over the nation and Canada, in order to take part in the celebration of Epiphany and its three-day festivities. Nowhere in America was the feast of Epiphany celebrated as it was in Tarpon Springs where the ceremonies are identical to those taken place in and around Greece.


The whole city was covered with Christian banners representing the baptism of Christ, Easter, and other Christian scenes. The whole town became alive with activity not only downtown but also the waterfront, where the entire sponge fleet and the other boats anchored in line. Most of them were painted in white and blue symbolic of Greece, and in their mast, they flew the Greek and American flags. Moreover, these flags were also placed on the light poles of the streets in the city.

Vendors would move along the crowd selling toy balloons, cotton candy, whistling birds on a stick, and various sweets.