Skip to comments.Tips for Braving Icy Swim on Russian Holiday [Epiphany]
Posted on 01/17/2013 12:44:06 PM PST by marshmallow
MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) Long shirts, no vodka and dry armpits these are just a few of the recommendations Russian doctors, swimmers and priests are giving to those who plan on dipping into ice-cold water to mark the Russian Orthodox Christian holiday of Epiphany on January 19.
The nerve-testing tradition symbolizes Jesus Christs baptism in the Jordan River and traditionally lures the hardiest churchgoers, and not only, to rivers and lakes across Russia. Through holes cut in the ice, celebrators plunge into the water typically three times, in honor of the Holy Trinity around midnight, often after an attending priest says a prayer.
Ritual Not Mandatory
The ritual of submergence, believed to be at least five centuries old, would seem to be at the center of the celebration, since the act is meant to symbolize a cleansing of sins from the previous year and a rebirth in preparation for the upcoming one.
But Russian Orthodox clerics say the icy bath isnt necessary.
If you dont jump into the hole, you dont lose anything, to be frank, says Archpriest Maxim Kozlov, rector of the St. Serafim of Sarov Cathedral in Moscow, adding that the ritual is meant only for the healthy and well prepared.
Kozlov also urged against exploiting the opportunity to show off ones beach body, saying the most appropriate clothing to evoke the Jordan River would be a long shirt.
So, please, its not necessary to turn this into a demonstration of ones charms or, on the contrary, one's age-related flaws, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at en.rian.ru ...
Aka the polar bear club ..... Been a member since my Boy Scout days, stationed in Alaska and on the Canadian border in the servicer etc .... Fun but dang cold !