100 Bulgarians Defied Covid-19!
Kalofer, Bulgaria, Jan 6 (AFP/APP): A shivering crowd of around 100 men defied Covid-19 restrictions Wednesday to jump into Bulgaria’s Tundzha river — an icy swim marking the Epiphany, which is supposed to bring good health.
Rumen Stoyanov, mayor of the riverside town of Kalofer in central Bulgaria, declined to join in the ritual himself this year. But he did not stop residents from diving in, despite a ban on large group gatherings. “Nobody is in a position to stop this celebration.
It’s a sign of how defiant Kalofer residents are,” he said. Participants would be asked to chip in to help pay an expected fine of 1,000 lev ($315, 500 euros), he added.
Crosses are thrown into lakes and rivers by priests across Bulgaria and Romania to mark the Epiphany, which in the eastern Orthodox Church is celebrated as the baptism of Christ.
The first person to retrieve the cross is supposedly blessed with good health. In Kalofer, men clad in embroidered shirts held out for longer than usual as they performed their traditional dance in the freezing water, a show of tenacity in a time of particular health challenges.
They did not appear to have taken any precautions against Covid, despite Bulgaria having one of the highest mortality rates from coronavirus in the European Union.
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