Thursday, January 19, 2012

Polar Bear Club: Russian Orthodox Style

Today is a religious holiday in Russia, the day on which Jesus Christ is thought to have been baptized. And so it is that each January 19th, devotees of Orthodoxy follow suit in a way and jump into icy rivers of Russia in hopes of having their sins forgiven. The ritual includes genuflecting and bobbing under the water several times.

This evening two members of my Bible archeology class came telling of their jumping into the Don River earlier today. It feels like being stuck by a hundred needles, said Herman, 13.

How about you, dear blog reader, have you ever participated in this January 19th tradition? Or have you ever joined a polar bear club, jumping into icy waters just for the sheer fun of it?

1 comment:

grandy said...

Eileen, thanks for sharing about the Russian Orthodox holiday of Jesus baptism. The videos are enlightening. Many years ago I jumped into the clear, freezing water of a snow run-off pool of Mt. Rainer, WA, USA. When I came up, I laughed and did not indicate how cold the water was in order to lure my young daughters into the pool. They took the bait and jumped into the frigid pool with me. It was a renewing experience.