City Governor Alexander Beglov also followed the tradition plunging into ice water on Vasilievsky Island.
This year, more than 25 thousand people took a dip in water on the Holy Epiphany Day, according to preliminary estimation by the regional directorate of the Ministry of Emergencies.
This year, January 19 was the warmest for the past 122 years, the air temperature was plus 4.4 degrees Centigrade. As there was no ice on the St. Petersburg rivers and canals, no ice holes for Epiphany bathing were made, instead, special wooden ‘fonts’ were installed.
St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov checked how safety is maintained by taking a dip in one of such fonts on Vasilievsky Island. After that, he spoke to people and congratulated them on the feast.
The tradition of bathing in cold water on Epiphany Day in Russia is centuries long. Russian Orthodox believers as well as and non-believers associating themselves with the Orthodox Christian culture and tradition come to special baptismal holes cut out in the ice covering lakes and rivers for a brief plunge in icy water in commemoration of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
Photo anf video: St. Petersburg TV channel