Epiphany bathing rites in Almaty
On January 19, Russian Orthodox Church in Almaty 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 main bathing place in Almaty this year was at lake Sairan. Orthodox Christians observe the bathing tradition to celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ and for them the bathing symbolizes purification. Since the tradition is not very easy to observe - 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.