The Jordan HoleBack to list
Climate in Novosibirsk
Original text by: Natasha Pugaeva for Sib.fm
Translation by: Katya Antonova for NovosibirskGuide.com
Photo by: Alexandr Bendyukov
White thin steam blasts are rising from water in the font, two minutes later the font is covered by thick crust of ice. They say it is 35 degrees Celsius below zero today. We stay around in warm clothes and felt boots. Suddenly a man wearing swimming trunks appears from the tent, he quietly approaches the water, without any rush he dives three times and goes back. Sib.fm celebrated the Feast of Theophany (Epiphany in Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches) at Berdsk Gulf.
— Excuse me, don`t you know where I can change? – asks a young girl who just came. The major event will start in about an hour, and we are waiting for the procession from Berdsk to come. Men are throwing more firewood in installed in the tents stoves and cleaning newly formed ice in cruciform ice hole almost every five minutes. Hot tea is being prepared in samovars on the tables left side.
The girl`s name is Yulya, she is 21, she works not far away from here and she asked her boss to let her go for some time:
— I work in a sauna near here. My boss said that after swimming I should come back and warm myself. We have several people who wanted to come to the sauna just for an hour.
Despite wearing ski suits we started getting cold in the street and entered a warm tent with a stove. Yulya is changing for a swimsuit; sometimes her speech is interrupted by obscenities: she left her socks, and she`ll have to wear the tights after the swimming.
— I`ll put on the suit over the swimsuit. I can't bathe right now, I haven`t got ready yet. I tried it last year for the first time. My ex-boss was a committed Christian; he fasted and swam here too. And I joined him. I also kept the fast and then started dipping into the water.
The procession is late and, much more people are coming to the warm tent:
— I have been swimming more than eight already, says the man near me.
— Why? To check what I am made of.
Several people are getting out of the just arrived car — they want to dip. The font entries are closed now; one cannot go there until the procession comes:
— You can get ill. You won`t when it is sanctified.
— It`s another way. It has already been sanctified, all the water is from the Jordan, - those who want to swim do not calm down.
A line of cars appeared nearby. Passengers are warming up inside and do not want to go outside to the cold yet.
A strict line of men and women white from the frost can be seen from the road. The bustle begins: where to stand, what tent to run in for changing, who to give the camera to:
— Make more pictures, so that I could chose several!
By the conversation I understand that men by me came from Novosibirsk:
— Why don`t you swim there? There are a lot of places.
— It`s quieter here and more interesting.
— And why you do it? The weather is so frosty.
—We need to. For the health, water changes its structure today.
Those who came from Berdsk had white frosted eyelashes and beards. The fact, that in a few minutes all these people will stand in a line for swimming in the ice hole of their own free will, is hard to believe.
While the service is going on, Yulya and two girls in the women's tent are preparing for the procedure. One of them came here for the third time, another – for the first:
—You are afraid to it for the first time, aren`t you?
— Why, no.
— Believe me, it`s worse for me. It was okay for me before because I did not know what it really was. They said that the water in the hole seems to be hot.
— And how does it actually feel?
— It is not hot at all, it's awfully cold!
Yulya has got rubber slippers on her foot, other girls have terry ones:
— We also were in such slippers last year.
— Which are better?
— Rubber ones are rather slippy, just imagine you are standing in such a frost and the rubber slippers you have are becoming numb.
A woman with a small girl enters the tent.
— Are you going to bathe too?
—We want to, but we don`t know for sure. Our Nastyushka bathed here too. And she wants to bathe this year again. At the beginning she shouted that she wouldn`t and today she decided to bathe again. — Nastya is six, she shakes her head being asked whether she is afraid or not.
—Hello, Masha – they recognize the girl who is a little bit older. - Are you going to swim too? Alone or with your mom?
— She bathed here previous years too. A good girl. Haven`t you ever swam?
— It happens that your hands and foot are frozen after the frost, here it just bites like that, that is all.
The service ends and the girls run to the ice hole. Emergency Situations Ministry officers appear on each side of the ice hole, there is the ambulance on the road. Yulya approaches the icy water quietly, dives with her head three times without crossing herself and runs to the tent:
— How was it?!
— My foot got cold, this is all.
A reporter for a local newspaper is warming her frozen camera in the tent:
— The equipment won`t work, but people — people will stand everything!
A long queue appears near the ice hole, women are let go forward. Some people are getting cold on their way even before swimming. A woman, whose look doesn`t allow to say that everything was excellent, runs into the tent:
—So, what did you feel, was it the same as you expected?
— No, I expected it to be easier. The water is icy. I don't know who said that it was warm. It is icy!
— You need to set yourself on it – other people are trying to soothe her. – How many times did you swim?
—This is the first time, and the weather is frosty. It seems that it is done on purpose. Oh, girls, now the effect became astounding! Now it really is! Such chill all over my body, I`m ready to dive again.
The number of people willing to dive in the ice doesn`t diminish. Having bathed, people are fed with cinnamons and given hot tea which cools down immediately in plastic cups. A doctor from the ambulance staff who appeared here jokes:
— I do this procedure five or six times a year not at the Feast of Theophany, I come and dive in the ice hole
— So isn`t it harmful anyway?
— There is no harm if you do everything correctly.
— What does “correctly” mean?
—One should warm up before, of course, no alcohol, and the body should be trained. It is better to begin step-by-step – Just diving when it is 35 minus outside is foolish. One should steel the body against t cold gradually.
— Do we have time to steel ourselves, by the way? — Joke running out of the ice women.
To see more photos, please read original article by Sib.fm internet-journal (in Russian). And here is some facts for better understanding: