MOSCOW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) – About 15,000 people in Moscow took part on Friday night in the traditional bathing in the water-holes cut out in the ice-shield on rivers, lakes and ponds to celebrate the feast of Epiphany, which the Russian Orthodox Church marks January 19.
A spokesman for the Moscow branch of the Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense /EMERCOM/ said that the bathing, which traditionally takes places on the eve of the feast, continued into the early hours of morning.
To ensure the normal execution of the popular rite, EMERCOM and Moscow City authorities have organized 56 bathing sites inside the administrative boundaries of Moscow.
Assisting in ensuring law and order there are police crews and teams of emergency medics.
“There’ve been no accidents,” the spokesman said.
A total of 42 tents have been put up at the sites of mass bathing. Participants in the rite who get out of the water are offered hot tea there.