January 19 – The Baptism of the Lord, the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. It is a religious, Christian holiday, but it gained popularity in Russia thanks to the tradition of ablution in water basins at midnight. Yes, yes, in Russia in January. Well, time of day is not really important. If it’s a couple of degrees colder, it still does not matter too much, since Jan 19 often turns out to be the coldest day of the month.
And since bodies of water are covered with ice, people swim in ice-holes on Baptism day. This is how this Christian feast day has turned into entertainment, with the motto “imbecility and courage”. Some people go swimming, entrusting their health to God and warming themselves up with their faith, but most people just do it to show their strength of character. If you decide to take part in the celebration, remember, you should abstain from getting into the ice-hole unless you are confident in your health and have not had any alcohol. Relying on the grace of God is OK, but such protection has not always worked. You should rely only on the strength of your body and shouldn’t overestimate yourself.