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Ukrainians plunge into icy water on Epiphany (PHOTOS)

Ukrainians plunge into icy water to celebrate Epiphany on Jan. 6, 2024, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
by Irynka Hromotska January 8, 2024 5:31 PM 3 min read
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For some Ukrainians, celebrating Epiphany is incomplete without taking a plunge into the icy waters of their nearest lake or river.

Epiphany, the Christian feast day commemorating the Magi’s visit, Jesus’ baptism, and the wedding at Cana, was traditionally celebrated by Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians on Jan. 19 in accordance with the Julian calendar.

However, the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine’s (OCU) switch to a revised Julian calendar on Sept. 1, prompted by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, means that Ukraine now celebrates Epiphany on Jan. 6.

The switch also moved Ukraine’s official Christmas celebrations from Jan. 6-7 to Dec. 24-25.

This year, as for time immemorial, Orthodox Ukrainians marked Epiphany by jumping into blessed, icy water.

People plunge into the waters of the Dnipro River in Kyiv, Ukraine, to celebrate Epiphany on Jan. 6, 2024. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
A woman helps prepare her child to plunge into icy water to celebrate Epiphany in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
Residents of Kyiv’s Obolon district celebrate Epiphany in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
A woman plunges into the icy water of the Dnipro River to celebrate Epiphany in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Mykhaylo Palinchak/Global Images Ukraine/Getty Images)
An Orthodox Church of Ukraine priest blesses the waters of the Black Sea amid Epiphany celebrations in Odesa, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)
An Orthodox Church of Ukraine priest sprinkles people with holy water during an Epiphany celebration in Lviv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu/Getty Images)
People run into the icy waters of the Dnipro River to celebrate Epiphany in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Mykhaylo Palinchak/Global Images Ukraine/Getty Images)
Ukrainians immerse themselves in icy water to celebrate Epiphany in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
A metal art installation portraying Jesus Christ for Epiphany celebrations in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 6, 2024. (Mykhaylo Palinchak/Global Images Ukraine/Getty Images)
‘The time is right for change’: More Ukrainians celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 this year
Ukrainian author Yevheniia Zavalii started celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 back in 2014, “when the rejection of everything Russian” began in her life. Undeterred by criticism from some people that she was breaking away from the traditions of her ancestors and the church, Zavalii stood by her dec…
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