To celebrate the Christian festival Epiphany, which honors Christ’s baptism, throngs of people braved the bitter cold on January 6 and dove into the Black Sea in the Ukrainian coastal city of Odesa. The cold plunge this year held even more significance. It marked the first occasion that the war-torn nation observed the Christian feast day according to the Gregorian calendar (on January 6) rather than the Julian calendar (on January 19). Ukraine moved its Christmas celebrations in line with many Western dates last year, passing legislation in an effort to further detach itself from customs widely followed in Russia. However, it has been nearly hard to separate oneself from Russia’s impending presence during the last several weeks in particular, with intense missile barrages.
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