Today, January 19, many Kharkivites with their families bathed in ponds, lakes, springs and other water basins in the city and its outskirts to celebrate Vodokhreshche, the Epiphany or baptism of Jesus in the Orthodox Church.
Eight water basins were consecrated by the Orthodox priests in different districts of Kharkiv since the night January 18. Participants of the ritual dip submerged themselves three times under the water, honoring the Holy Trinity and to symbolically wash away their sins.
However, for some people bathing in icy waters is not necessarily connected with religious beliefs but refers rather to conventional water cleansing or to the view that cold water is good for health and “takes all illnesses away.”
The most popular place for Epiphany bathing is Sarzhin Yar with a spring, which has the same temperature in the summer and in the winter. Today, over one thousand people – both Kharkivites and residents of the nearby towns – plunged into the water despite air temperature from -7 to -9 C.
Those who joined the extreme fun state they feel happy and full of energy.
The Epiphany completes the cycle of Orthodox Christmas holidays.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: City Council