‘A New and Exciting Experience’
The traditional dip into icy water on the celebration of Jesus’ Baptism united brave HSE international students on January 18th for the third time. The event was organised by ESN HSE. Two words sum up their impressions – ‘unique’ and ‘delightful’. The event took place at VDNKH where organizers arranged all the necessary services, including hot tea, a tent and medical assistance – which, luckily, wasn’t needed.
Ville Jokela (Finland)
The Epiphany ice bathing was, for me, a new and very exciting experience. While I have ice bathed in my home country of Finland before, it has always been with the direct access to a sauna afterwards and without any religious significance. Therefore, I was a bit nervous! The worst part was standing in the line for the tents where you undressed. I had to wait for about an hour, but those that came later had to wait even longer, so I recommend coming to these events as early as possible. When I finally got into the tent, it was packed with people getting dressed or undressed, so I didn’t wish to spend a lot of time there! Once I had undressed, I didn’t have to wait too long to get into the water. The whole thing went by very fast. While bathing in the ice-cold water was not, in itself, very pleasant, I felt deep satisfaction afterwards. It truly felt like I had taken part in a real Russian experience, and it will remain a very fond memory of my exchange in Russia.
Alessio Marini (Italy)
I can say that the organizers were really nice and helpful. I was kind of cold but the police officers motivated me to do it! The services were a little bit spartan but very functional.
I'll do it also next year for sure.
Iván Colín Martínez (Mexico)
This was a unique experience that I definitely wanted to try because I knew the importance of ice bathing in Russian culture. I really believe in the saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”, however I was a little bit nervous, because I didn’t want to catch a cold. You only have to immerse yourself in the cold water three times and make the sign of the cross, which actually doesn’t take more than 15 seconds (enough for your Instagram story!) As a foreign student it was a great experience, but you have to consider that this tradition is very important for many Russians, so you have to do it with respect. If I had the chance, I’d do it again next year.