Dozens of men in Bulgaria danced and sang in the cold waters of the Tendza River in the central city of Kalofer on Wednesday to celebrate the Epiphany.
This happened amid anger from officials because these revelers ignored the restrictions imposed to prevent the new Coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19).
In a regular popular ceremony, Orthodox priests cast across a lake or river, and it is believed that the person who pulls it out will be freed from evil spirits and be in good health during the year.
Despite calls by the authorities to cancel the ceremony, about 70 men from Calofer took part, while dozens of others gathered on both sides of the river to watch it.
“We tried … not to hold it (the ceremony), but there is no way. They would organize it anyway even if we didn’t help them,” said Romyn Stoyanov, Kalofer’s mayor.
“It’s an important event for the community … We tried to limit (the number) of the participants, but we couldn’t.”
After removing the cross, the men danced and sang in a circle to the music’s beat.