Here in Atyrau, my friends and I are always up for an adventure. It is hard to find much to do besides exercise, cook and get together with friends.
(not that any of these activities are bad, but any sort of city wide festivities, outside of our village, are not the norm).
So when an opportunity to walk on a frozen river to get to the site of Christshenya came up,
we all jumped on it.
Christshenya is the Russian Orthodox celebration where the water in the river is blessed 12 days after the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Believers follow a procession from the church to the river where the priest says his prayers,
and blesses the water.
The most hardy of the believers then submerge themselves three times for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Their sins are absolved and they begin the year anew.
They had a scuba diver ready in case tragedy struck...aka...someone lets go of the ladder and falls underneath the ice.
Musical entertainment provided by the man with an accordion.
Changing room...(term used lightly!)
Those that can not fathom jumping into a frozen river in extremely cold air with only their undies on can collect the blessed, holy water and keep it in their homes until the following year, using it medicinally, to drink or however they choose.
We walked from our village down the frozen river. The ice is strange to walk on, half of me feeling secure, but yet feeling a little nervous in case I were to fall through!
It makes beautiful bubbles right underneath the surface.
The sunrise was beautiful behind this lone ice fisherman.
It was definitely a not-to-miss opportunity here in frozen Atyrau!