On Epiphany international students of Tomsk Polytechnic University and the participants of the Winter Russian language and culture school got acquainted with Russian Orthodox traditions, visited the Church of the Resurrection, and even took part in the Epiphany bathing. Four students from Germany, Vietnam and India plunged into the ice-hole and shared their impressions of this Russian Orthodox rite.
«When I was offered to take a swim, my first thought was - it’s better to regret things you’ve done, than regret things you’ve never even tried. I hardly dared to do it alone, but I saw on the White Lake many people who also plunged into the ice-hole, and I was no longer scared. There was a sense of community, unity with others. The water was nice, only feet felt cold, and the rest of the body did not feel the frost, - says Falk Mill, a student from Germany studying at TPU «Mechanical Engineering» specialty.
To my mind the Epiphany bathing is a very interesting religious tradition. I like the fact that people do it all together and no one is forced to do it.
In the world there are religions that require people to perform any rituals. In Russian Orthodox tradition everyone has a choice. You can swim if you want, but you can just come and enjoy the company of other people. I think it's great».
Two TPU students from Vietnam have already had the experience of ice-hole bathing.
Nguyen Bao Hung, a student of the Institute of Cybernetics, three years ago took part in the Epiphany bathing for the first time. This year he has decided to swim again.
«I live in Tomsk for a long time. This year my studies at TPU will finish, and in just a month I’ll go home. Probably, I’ll never have such chance anymore, so I decided to do it again. I live in the central part of Vietnam, there is no snow. The lowest temperature there is 7C ° above zero. And, to be honest, I will miss the Siberian frost. Today I plunged and didn’t even feel cold. I has become a real Siberian» - says Nguyen Bao Hung.
An Thai Nguyen, a student of TPU Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, has plunged into the ice-hole for the last three years.
«I love it. After bathing, I feel stronger, my health improves. It's a kind of body training.
Living in Siberia is very interesting. I like winter. I'm from North Vietnam, it is on the border of Vietnam and China, and sometimes it’s cold there. But, of course, it can’t be compared with severe Siberian frosts, » - says the student.
In addition, TPU international students from 12 countries of Europe, China and India visited the Church of the Resurrection on Epiphany. There they watched the water consecration ceremony and get acquainted with other Orthodox traditions.
Epiphany, also Theophany or Three Kings' Day is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Moreover, the feast of the Epiphany, in some Western Christian denominations, also initiates the liturgical season of Epiphanytide. Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus on both sides of the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Qasr el Yahud in the West Bank, and Al-Maghtas in Jordan on the east bank, Al-Maghtas is considered to be the original site of the baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist.