Greek Americans (Greek: Ελληνοαμερικανοί, Ellinoamerikani) are Americans of Greek descent also described as Hellenic descent. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimation, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the United States, while theState Department mentions that around 3,000,000 Americans claim to be of Greek descent.In addition, the 2000 census revealed that Greek was spoken at home by 365,436 people older than five.Greek Americans have a heavy concentration in the New York City metropolitan area, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, and Cleveland. Tarpon Springs, Florida is also home to a large Greek American community and the highest concentration of Greek-Americans in the country (11%). The United States is home to the largest overseas Greek community, ahead of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, which despite having a Greek population of less than 1 million has a larger percentage of Greeks than the U.S.
Welcome to the Greek American community of Tarpon Springs of Florida…!!! The Sponge Capital of the World…oh Yes !The best way to experience this unique city is, like parts of the city itself, the old fashioned way,on foot.Enjoy the historical ambiance of our downtown and the city’s ethnic atmosphere of the Sponge Docks.
The City of Tarpon Springs was established along the Anclote River, where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico. The name of the city was inspired by the tarpon, a fish that inhabits the nearby waters.During the 1890s, sponge-packing houses were built in the City, sponge presses were installed and buyers moved to town. Gradually the sponge business shifted its center from Key West, Cuba and the Bahamas to Tarpon Springs. By 1900 the City was considered the largest sponge port in the United States.
Greek immigrants expanded and refined sponging in Tarpon Springs. John Corcoris arrived in Tarpon Springs in 1896 as a sponge buyer from a New York firm. In 1905, Corcoris introduced the first mechanized sponge fishing boat to Tarpon Springs and brought in 500 Greek divers from Kalymnos, Halki, Sumi, Hydra, Spetse, Aegena and other Greek islands and soon the sponge industry managed to prosper. Professional sponge divers still search the waters off the coast of Tarpon Springs, as deep as 150 feet, for sponges. Most of the sponge boats are owned and operated by people of Greek descent. Sponges from Tarpon Springs are sold all over the world.
Today , Tourism has replaced sponging as Tarpon Springs’ major economic activity. Thousands of visitors each year come to the City to enjoy the outdoors, visit the Sponge Docks, see professional divers in action and experience the Greek culture that still permeates the City. Visitors come to walk Dodecanese Boulevard and visit its unique Greek shops, buy sponges and feast at restaurants serving traditional Greek fare and delectable pastries. Many of the shops are owned and operated by the descendants of the City’s first immigrants from Greece. It is estimated that the sponge industry brings $2 million a year to the Tarpon Springs economy and helps nurture a $20 million a year tourist industry along with the City’s thriving antique and arts community.
The first Greek settlers that came to this city, had faith and a dream to better their lives and the lives of their loved ones. With the simple living and the unity of their families, they placed a foundation in Tarpon Springs, developing a Greek community that established values, which consist of sacrifice (thisias), hard work, honor, love for their old and new country, and tradition. They tried to improve not only their lives, but also improve the lives of their children through education. The New Greek Americans became doctors, lawyers, teachers, priests, scientists, civic leaders in every branch of government, and most of all, they became very productive citizens with very strong family ties.
Through their success, they still maintained their Greek identity and heritage. A lot of them and their children served with pride and honor in two World Wars for the United States, and also served in the Korean and Vietnam War.
” Εν Ιορδάνη , βαπτιζομένουσι Κύριε “
The Orthodox Christian Church celebrates Epiphany on, January 6thof each year, in remembrance of the baptism of Jesus Christ in the water of Jordan River 2000 ago. In Greece, Jesus Christ baptismal day is celebrated with spiritual emotion and long procession. Epiphany carols are sung the day before all across the Greek Orthodox Community , to celebrate the blessing of the waters...listen to them :
Following tradition, the local Greek community of Tarpon Springs , Florida will celebrate Epiphany, with the sanctification of the waters and the immersion of the cross in the Spring bayou . Devoted Greek -Americans from all over the USA and Canada, take part in the celebration of Epiphany, during its three-day festivities.
Visit The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral at :
The local Greek community believes unconditionally that a hurricane will not pass through the city of Tarpon Springs because St. Nicholas, which is patron saint and the protector of the seamen, will protect the city and its residents as well. The last hurricane, which passed through this city, was in 1920.
For hundred of years in the land of the Greek forefathers, whoever retrieves the cross, it has been said that he would have good fortune and divine beneficence. Upon return to the church, the divers are asked to stand at the altar, while the retriever would receive special blessings. The successful diver with the rest of the boys would make the Epiphany rounds, as they visit the houses and businesses of the town. They would sing religious hymns of Christ’s baptism. The people are allowed to kiss the cross, place flowered basil on the silver tray and give donations to the church.
Louis Pappas retrieved the Holly Cross for 2011
If you happen to be in the area during January 6th , YOU MUST visit ” The Epiphany City ” of Tarpon Springs…you will NEVER …ever , forget it !!! I have been visiting Tarpon Springs , it is only a few miles north from Clearwater , where I reside and videotaped this celebration...check it out: