Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bless me Father, for I can swim fast...

Sofia, Bulgaria, January 6, 2009--Tuesday was Epiphany Day, and a cold one for Bulgarians who wanted good fortune in 2009.

During the Great Blessing of Waters, an Eastern Orthodox priest throws a cross into a body of water.

Brave swimmers dive to try to retrieve the cross and bring it back to the priest, who then blesses the swimmer and his household.
I'm curious...who thinks that this is what the founders of any religion had in mind...least of all Eastern Orthodox?

Don't get me wrong...I support and encourage competition in any forum.

The observance had its origins in the Eastern Christian Churches, and was originally a general celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and included the commemoration of: his birth; the visit of the Magi, or "Wise Men" from Persia (Magi being Persian priests), who arrived in Bethlehem; all of Jesus' childhood events, up to and including his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist; and even the miracle at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee. However, it seems fairly clear that the Baptism was the event predominantly commemorated.
OK...I can see a bit of a correlation between baptism and a bunch of half naked men diving into frigid water to retreive a wooden cross...if I down a couple of bottles of Absinthe and knock my head against a telephone pole about twenty times.

People are inherently strange...but creative...