The epiphany plunge is not quite as scary as cues of those willing to take it. The water hasn’t yet been blessed, but there are already hundreds of people at St. Petersburg’s main baptism pool.
Kseniya Eremenko, reporter: “Every year this ice-hole, right across from the Ioannovskiy ravelin at the Petropavlovskaya fortress, sets new attendance records. Ok, lets try to squeeze in”.
It is believed that after the water has been blessed, it becomes imperishable. Believers say it can go for years with no harm. And if you take a plunge today, then you’re almost guaranteed miracle would happen.
Eva Romanova, St. Petersburg resident: “I was diagnosed with a bad disease and my son made me go for a plunge, I had to take 3 dives and make the sign of the cross. Since then, all tests have been negative”.
Because of surprisingly warm winter this year, the ice has been very thin – not more than 10 centimeters. That’s why the bank has been cordoned off, going on the ice is prohibited. Everything is watched closely by lifeguards. There are also firemen, volunteers and doctors.
Erkinbek Tolkonbayev, head of rescue service’s emergency department: “Of course it is better to be prepared, but there are rookies too. It’s not a problem. Rescuers will always give a helping hand. Its ok, don’t be afraid”
Kseniya Eremenko, reporter: “You know I get cold just by thinking I will be making a plunge into ice water. The only idea which keeps me warm is that such ice diving is really good for one’s health. It is said that during it blood runs to all vital organs and you’re feeling strength and energy. Well, lets check this out”
Sergey Ananin, St. Petersburg resident: “The main thing is that you mustn’t hurry. Make a first dive and then more and more. You can even take a short swim”
Kseniya Eremenko, reporter: “A piece of advice to newbies – no panic. Although, I have to admit, its hard not to right now. Good! Now I’ll get warm”
Pyotr Mukhin, Father Superior of the Smolnyi cathedral: “Every year, going into Jordanian baptism pool, I get special joy of life, joy of love. I wish everyone health! Happy holiday! Happy epiphany”
Kseniya Eremenko, reporter: “Hot tea after an ice plunge is exactly what the doctor ordered. When you walk out of the ice water, you really feel hot – but only for a few minutes. You have to avoid hypothermia. There are 20 ice baptism pools in St. Petersburg, in 10 districts. So you still have time to take part in this holiday. A note from myself – it is worth it”