Friday, January 8, 2010

Kalofer Men Celebrate Epiphany

The Bulgarian men of Kalofer celebrate Epiphany, an important Orthodox holiday, by performing a traditional dance in the freezing waters of Tundzha river. On January 6, the small town of Kalofer, located 200 km east of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, was the scene of an unique event. The men dressed in traditional costumes and, carrying national flags, headed for the neighboring Tundzha river. Here they entered its freezing waters and performed the customary Horo dance. During the Epiphany ceremony, an Orthodox priest throws a metal cross in the water and young men plunge in to retrieve it. Whoever finds it first is said to stay in perfect health throughout the entire year. After a swim like this, I have my doubts…

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