January 19 – The Great Feast of Epiphany in Russia

Bathing in Freezing Water in the lake Krugloe
«Bathing in Freezing Water in the lake Krugloe» - See photo in Gallery
On the day of Epiphany, thousands of Russians bath in the frozen rivers, lakes or ponds to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan river, which occurred on 19 January according to Julian calendar. Orthodox Christians believe that icy-cold water is holy for the day. This holiday is traditionally linked to the time of the strongest winter frosts, called "Epiphany frosts".

Plunge in Icy Water
«Plunge in Icy Water» - See photo in Gallery
The bravest carry out this practice by washing outdoors in a frozen lake, in a hole cut through the ice in the shape of a cross. For such brave people, the best gift for this holiday might be soft, warm towels. The bathing spots are normally prepared in a special way: cross-shaped holes are made in the ice and wooden stairs are fixed to make it more comfortable for the believers to go through the ritual.

Puting on Warm Coat After Bathing in Icy Water
«Puting on Warm Coat After Bathing in Icy Water» - See photo in Gallery
On that day, during countryside tour with my dear repeat client from Belgium, we met on the lake Krugloe 25km North-West from Moscow city (not far from Sheremetyevo airport) a pilot from Belarus who flies for Aeroflot, the largest airline company in Russia He was very nice and permitted to photograph him while his was plunge three times in cross-shaped ice hole (in respect of Holy Trinity). We enjoyed very much our short conversation with him concerning to this church feast and following the old Russian tradition to keep a body and soul strong. But I couldn't imagine doing what he did. At the time that we took these pictures, the temperature outside was about -12 degrees C (10 degrees F). After the pilot, we were able to watch how another two young men plunged into ice cold water first time in thier life. Definitely you must have a strong faith to do this!

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Related Photos:

 Cross-shaped Ice Hole with Wooden Platform
«Cross-shaped Ice Hole with Wooden Platform» - See photo in Gallery
 Puting on Warm Coat After Bathing in Icy Water
«Puting on Warm Coat After Bathing in Icy Water» - See photo in Gallery
 Plunge in Icy Water
«Plunge in Icy Water» - See photo in Gallery
 Bathing in Freezing Water in the lake Krugloe
«Bathing in Freezing Water in the lake Krugloe» - See photo in Gallery

About Me in Short

Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website Moscow-Driver.com from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

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