Saturday, January 19, 2013


Today's the day to get your sins washed away!

Hundreds of people gathered this morning at саржин яр to plunge into icy waters and receive the blessing of an Orthodox priest.

What I'm about to share with you is all secondhand. Why?

Because earlier this morning, well-
"Pssst, Katherine! {shake, shake} Do you want to come with me?"
" need sleep....."

And with that, D quietly slipped out the front door, swimming trunks under his jeans and a towel in his bag. He was joined at саржин яр by some of his coworkers, the same ones we tromped around Odessa with. And again, just like in Odessa, there was a fair amount of tromping around until at last the Orthodox priests showed up to bless the water. The priests headed straight toward this cross-shaped pool:
(disclaimer: picture was taken last spring, not today)
Once there, they chanted for almost 20 minutes. Wet snow fell from the sky as those nearest the water stood shivering in swimsuits. When the priests moved on, it was time for окунаться. D was third in line and therefore one of the first guys to wade into the pool, submerge three times under the water, and- according to the church- get his sins washed away. Not saying he's committed many of them :p but it's always good to get a little extra forgiveness!

After a visit to the sauna and a long nap, he toiled hard to put together this short video for you. He's definitely the best boyfriend this blogger could ever ask for : )

Enjoy! (And I recommend watching the video in full screen- you'll be able to see all the tiny details, like people removing their hats and crossing themselves as the priests pass by.)

Please click here if you can't see the video.

PS: For AMAZING high definition photos of this event, do check out В Харькове отмечают Крещение Господня on the city's website.


  1. Way to go Denis! What were in the bags in the line of people you shot (in the video, I mean ;)?

    This is exactly the sort of things I was following in Ethiopia, though they have it much easier, temperature-wise ( This is the urban variation I saw most:

    1. Hi Sasha! Wow, what a nice surprise to hear from you! :) I'd forgotten that this kind of thing is right up your alley. Very interesting links you posted- I enjoyed seeing how the day is celebrated in Ethiopia. D says there were either bottles of water in the bags (soda bottles or other small containers) or clothes/towel to use after swimming. Maybe you can come visit Kharkov at this time next year! For research purposes, of course :p

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and thanks for the Facebook share, MCD :)