Epiphany Day in Vladivsotok, Russia and Ice Water Swimming
It is THIS time of year in Russia when Orthodox Christians go swimming in ice cold water to celebrate the baptism of Jesus. Don’t ask why. It is still unclear to me why it is necessary to do this ritual during winter when the temperature drops below -15 degrees and everyone is freezing waiting for their turn to dive in the icy water. It is also unclear to me why some people baptize their little children during the Epiphany Day, it seems rather cruel to me. Ah well, to each his own, I guess. Let people go crazy in their own manner.
So here is how it’s done: they cut an ice hole in a shape of a cross in the frozen lake or river, a priest comes to bless the hole and then people start undressing in public at -18 degrees to dive in this holy water. This behavior would be considered ‘indecent’ in countries like Egypt, but in Russia it seems like a proof that you’re a true Christian.
They cut out the ice hole in the frozen Japanese Sea in Vladivostok. So imagine swimming in ice cold sea water at -20 temperature outside. Fun memories guaranteed. After all, the crazier, the better…
Below you will find more images taken by Yury Smityuk, a prominent photographer from Vladivostok.
You can find more images here.