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​Epiphany Bathing Rites In Atyrau

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On January 19, Russian Orthodox Church in Atyrau celebrated the Epiphany. A lot of people observe the Epiphany bathing rites in Kazakhstan - they plunge into holes cut in the ice on frozen rivers and lakes. The bathing in Atyrau annually takes place near “Ural" restaurant.

This year seven spots have been allocated for bathing, the main one traditionally was near “Ural" restaurant. There was a religious procession of priests and parishioners of Sacred Assumption Cathedral. The prior of the church Father Mikhail after a prayer sprinkled people with water from an ice-hole and gave blessing for bathing.

Orthodox Christians observe the bathing tradition to celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ and for them the bathing symbolizes purification. Since winter weather in Kazakhstan ranged from -5 to -30 on January 19 depending on the region - the tradition is also associated with courage and healthy lifestyle.

People also filled bottles with water from small ice-holes specially made in the river to take it home. According to believers, on that day the water possesses special salutary characteristics and can be stored for a long time.

By Tamara Soukhomlinova

February 3 2016, 10:55

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