Why russians jump into icy holes...?



Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Epiphany with an icy plunge

Thousands of members of the Russian Orthodox Church marked Epiphany on January 19 with a dip in freezing waters blessed by a cleric. Epiphany is a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ and the revelation of God as a human being in his form. Much like a baptism, the icy plunge is considered a purifying act of faith.
Followers of the Gregorian calendar celebrate on January 6, but Russian Orthodox believers follow the Julian calendar, putting Epiphany on January 19. On either date, the water is still utterly and indescribably cold.
It may be extremely cold in central Illinois and throughout the Midwestern and Eastern United States as well, but most of Russia is afflicted with heavy snow and steady temperatures in the single digits and often below zero. Imagine jumping into a pond or lake under those conditions. A torturous experience for sure, but certainly a respectable proof of faith and devotion. And it makes for some exciting photos. 

 THE EYE   a journal star photo blog      

Why russians jump into icy holes...? 
A Russian woman swims in the icy water  on Epiphany at a pond in at a pond in town of Pushkin  outside St.Petersburg, Russia, early Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.  The temperature in St.Petersburg is -26C ( -14.8 F). Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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