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Thousands of People Bathe in Icy Water on Epiphany in Moscow
19.01.2013 09:34
Thousands of People Bathe in Icy Water on Epiphany in Moscow

About 82,000 Muscovites took traditional icy bathes to mark the Epiphany early Saturday, as air temperature in the city was at minus 13 degrees Celsius (+ 8.6 Fahrenheit).

      Epiphany, also known as Theophany, is one of the Great Feasts, which marks  the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Russian orthodox believers celebrate it on January 19 in line with the Julian calendar.

      One of the oldest holiday's traditions is plunging into the icy water as a way to wash away sins. For that ceremony special cross-shaped holes are cut in ice over lakes and rivers. Celebrators plunge into the water while crossing with a cross - typically three times, in honor of the Holy Trinity - around midnight, often after an attending priest says a prayer.

      More than 50 Epiphany bathing sites were made across Moscow, all equipped with special buildings for change of clothes, warm blankets, hot tea and rescuers.

      The feast's peculiar feature is the rite of the Great Blessing of Water. Believeres take it in churches and store for long periods using it to cure illnesses and bless themselves or things and premises around them.


Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: Russian holidays Russian winter Russian Orthodox Chruch Moscow  

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