The Orthodox Church on January 19 (according to the new style) celebrates Baptism or Epiphany. This is the most ancient holiday among Christians, and its establishment goes back to the time of the apostles of Christ. He also has ancient names: Epiphany is a phenomenon, Theophany is the Epiphany, The Holy Light, The Feast of Lights, or simply "The Light," since it was the Lord Himself who came to the world on this day to show Him the Light Unapproachable.
Feast of Baptism
The word "baptize" or "baptize" from the Greek language is translated as "immerse in water." It is almost impossible to understand the importance and the very meaning of what a Epiphany bathing is, without having an idea of what symbolic value water has in the Old Testament.
Water is the beginning of life. It was she who impregnated all the living beings that came from her. Where there is no water, there is a lifeless desert. And water can destroy, as in the time of the Great Flood, when God flooded the sinful life of people and thereby destroyed the evil that they created.
God through his Baptism made the water holy, and now in memory of this event is traditionally celebrated the Vodosvyatie. At this time, water is consecrated in all Orthodox churches, and then in rivers and reservoirs.
On this day, traditionally carried out a popular procession, called the "Procession to the Jordan", in order to consecrate water and then arrange a Epiphany bathing in the hole.
The baptism of John meant that as the body washed by water is purified, so the penitent soul, who believes in God, will be cleansed of sins by the Savior.
The biblical story tells how Jesus came from Nazareth in those days, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. When Jesus came out of the water, the heavens opened, and the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon him. And a voice was heard from heaven: "You are my beloved son, in whom is my blessing."
Epiphany revealed to the people the great mystery of the Holy Trinity, to which every baptized person is attached. Then Christ told his apostles that they would go and teach all nations.
Epiphany bathing. Traditions
The tradition of the water consecration of our ancestors appeared from those ancient times, when in 988 the Prince of Kiev baptized Rus. Now only the priest can perform the ritual of the Sacrifice, since at that time special prayers are read with a triple immersion in the water of the cross. This is done at the very festival of Baptism after the Liturgy. But first, before that, an ice hole is made in the reservoir, usually in the form of a cross, called "Jordan".
These days the Epiphany water is a real shrine that can heal and strengthen the soul and body of a person. Therefore, such a solemn procession of consecration near the opening of the reservoir is made to make bathing at Baptism available to people. Orthodox people gain water from the ice-hole and wash, but the bravest and courageous literally dive into it.
Traditions of ancestors
Russian tradition of bathing in the ice hole was borrowed from the ancient Scythians, who so hardened their babies. They simply dipped them in cold water and thus accustomed to the harsh climate conditions.
In addition, the tradition to swim in the hole was also in pagan rites, so the initiation took place in the soldiers. And now in Russia they like to rub themselves with snow after a bathhouse or jump into cold water.
Some pagan rites have been rooted in our lives to this day. Therefore, we swim in the ice hole and celebrate the Shrovetide, which was tied to the beginning of Lent.
According to church rules, the Epiphany Eve takes place "a great blessing of water". Believing people come to the service in the church, put candles and collect the consecrated water. However, it is not required to dive into an ice-hole, this happens at the person's own volition.
In general, in Russia it was believed that bathing in the ice-hole at Epiphany promotes healing from many ailments. Water, like living matter, is able to change its structure under the influence of information, so everything depends on the thoughts in the person's head. In whole folk festivals baptismal bathing turns, photos of this celebration always show how fun and interesting they are.
Bathing in Epiphany. How right?
But this fun and harmless, at first glance, occupation can lead to a number of unpleasant moments. Special preparation Epiphany bathing does not specifically imply. The human body is adapted to the cold, and therefore only the mood is important.
What can happen to a human body when immersed in an ice hole?
1. When a person is immersed in cold water with a head, he has a sharp excitation of the central nervous system and the cortex of the brain, which as a whole positively affects the entire body.
2. The impact of low temperatures is briefly perceived by the body as stress, which can relieve inflammation, swelling and spasms.
3. The thermal conductivity of the air enveloping the body is 28 times less than the thermal conductivity of the water. This is the effect of hardening.
4. Cold water forces to release additional body forces, and after contact with it, the temperature of the human body rises to 40 degrees Celsius. And as is known, at such a mark, microbes, diseased cells and viruses die.
Bathing in Epiphany frosts implies the fulfillment of certain rules. The main thing at the same time is that the ice-hole was specially equipped and all this action took place under the supervision of rescuers. The population is usually informed about such mass places of bathing.
Bathing in the hole suggests swimming trunks or a bathing suit, a terry dressing gown and a towel, as well as a set of dry clothes, slippers or woolen socks, a rubber cap and hot tea.
Before setting up a bath in Baptism, it's very important to know how to do it properly. To begin with, you need to warm up a little with charging, or even better run. The ice-hole should be approached in non-slip, comfortable easily removable shoes or socks. It is also necessary to check the stability of the ladder, and for safety, throw a rope tightly fixed on the shore.
Immerse yourself in the hole in the neck and it is better not to wet your head, so that there is no narrowing of the vessels of the brain. Jumping into a hole with a head is also undesirable, since a temperature loss can cause a shock. Cold water will immediately cause rapid breathing, and this is perfectly normal, so the body adapts to the cold. In the water for more than one minute, it is dangerous, it can cool the body. Also it is necessary to watch children very carefully, who, frightened, can forget that they can swim.
From the hole, too, you must be able to go out so as not to fall, and for this you need to hold on tightly to the rail, and at the same time use a dry rag. After bathing, you need to rub yourselves well with a towel and put on dry clothes. After bathing, it is best to drink hot tea made of herbs or berries pre-cooked in a thermos bottle.
This day, alcohol is strictly forbidden, as it negatively affects the natural thermoregulation of the whole organism, so the consequences can be different. It is also important to know that it is also unacceptable to swim on a hungry or, conversely, a clogged stomach.
Contraindications to bathing
No matter how useful Epiphany bathing, there are contraindications to this. And they concern acute and chronic diseases. This is a violation of the cardiovascular system (heart defects, hypertension, heart attacks), the central nervous system (skull trauma, epilepsy), endocrine system (thyrotoxicosis, diabetes mellitus), visual organs (conjunctivitis, glaucoma), respiratory organs (asthma, pneumonia , tuberculosis), the genitourinary system (cystitis, inflammation of the appendages or prostate gland), gastrointestinal tract (ulcer, cholecystitis, hepatitis), skin-venereal diseases; inflammation of the nasopharynx and otitis, etc.
Opinion of physicians
Medical experts in this area believe that bathing in the ice hole on Epiphany did not bring any unexpected troubles, you need to be absolutely healthy. And this is especially dangerous for those who smoke or drink alcohol, since the flow of blood to the lungs can cause inflammation or even swelling of the bronchi and pneumonia. In young people, not to mention the elderly, the arteries are not always able to react in the right way to cold water, and at that moment, a stop of breathing, and then of the heart, may come.
If you engage in systemic walrus, it will certainly help to improve the health of the body, but when this happens infrequently, everything will become a strong stress for him, so you should seriously weigh the pros and cons before bathing.
Many people at Baptism heroically decide to swim in the hole, although this idea may be unsafe. However, people's Epiphany bathing is very nice, photos from these holidays turn out to be quite expressive, someone just tunes into the water, someone is already happy that he bathed, and someone is already basking and drinking hot tea.
Many believing people believe that bathing in the hole at Baptism for a true Orthodox person is a great blessing. And in fact so it also is. Only here is the main thing - to understand whether the faith is strong enough and deep in you, so that it becomes a real shield from all troubles at the moment when Epiphany bathing takes place.