Bikini-clad girls, celebs & politicians: WATCH Russians descend into frigid water on Epiphany
Thousands of people brave the freezing Russian winter and take a dip into the ice-cold water on Epiphany to cleanse their souls and, in some cases, snap really cool photos for Instagram.
Orthodox Christians celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ on January 19 by diving into ice holes, which represent the Jordan River – a ritual which has been gaining popularity in Russia recently.
It has become a whole industry in the country. Numerous consecrated ice holes, often shaped as a cross, are cut at rivers and ponds for the occasion. They’re equipped with special railing, warm changing rooms, and have rescuers working on site to make sure everything goes without complications for the faithful.
Many Russians believe cold water treatment is good for the health, so people of all ages, including children, engage in the chilling ritual. Mid-January is not usually the time to wear a bikini in Russia, but Epiphany provides a unique exception for fashionistas.
State officials, lawmakers, and celebrities have also joined in, with former ballet star Anastasia Volochkova, boxing champ-turned MP Nikolai Valuev, and others sharing videos of their ice-water dips on social media.
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