Holy bath in ice-cold river

An emergency rescuer carrying a child who was bathing in freezing waters during the Epiphany celebration at the Bolshaya Almatinka river bank in Almaty, Kazakhstan, yesterday. Marking the baptism of Jesus according to the Julian calendar, the Orthodo
PHOTO: REUTERS

An emergency rescuer carrying a child who was bathing in freezing waters during the Epiphany celebration at the Bolshaya Almatinka river bank in Almaty, Kazakhstan, yesterday.

Marking the baptism of Jesus according to the Julian calendar, the Orthodox church faithful believe that water becomes holy on this day and cut holes in frozen lakes and rivers to bathe in the ice-cold water.

The Julian calendar was introduced by the authority of Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 46BC, before it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Holy bath in ice-cold river'. Print Edition | Subscribe