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.
Irynka Hromotska is a photo editor at The Kyiv Independent. She received her MA in photojournalism from the Missouri School of Journalism as a Fulbright student. Irynka previously curated the “Fighting for Dignity” exhibition, highlighting the resilience of Ukrainians, interned at the Magnum Foundation, worked with Magnum Photos, and was an assistant photo editor for the FotoEvidence photo book “Ukraine: A War Crime.” Her photography has been featured in outlets like Radio Free Europe, Reuters, The New York Times, and The Guardian.
In her role at Kyiv Independent, Irynka actively fosters relationships with photojournalists covering Ukraine, with a particular focus on promoting long-form visual storytelling.
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