It’s January 19, and if you happen to be a member of the Russian or Ukrainian Orthodox Church it is not going to be a warm day wrapped up in front of the fire.
The reason for that is because today is Epiphany Day, a day where members of the faith celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ by plunging themselves into waters the Church deems holy.
Unfortunately, Russia and Ukraine are not particularly warm in January, and neither are the waters worshippers cleanse themselves in.
According to the Daily Mail the day is celebrated on January 6 by Greek, Bulgarian, and Czech members of Orthodox Christianity, but in Russia and Ukraine they wait a further 13 days.
The reason for the differing dates is that in Russia and Ukraine they follow the Julian Calendar, although the extra time probably helps build up the required courage.
Despite the air temperature being well below zero in most locations, and the water not getting much better, huge numbers of people strip down to their swimsuits and bravely lower themselves into the natural waters.
However, an absence of lakes, rivers, and waterways in your region will not allow you to escape the icy fate.
In Moscow’s Revolution Square they countered that issue by creating purpose-built baths, and yes they still choose to fill them with freezing water – as confirmed by the face of Russian Liberal Democratic Party Leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky who proved his own mettle by getting cleansed.
This definitely takes some dedication to your faith.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.