Vodici: A midwinter swim

In Macedonia the Synaxis of St. John the Baptist on 7 January is celebrated with Vodici, a musical ceremony that involves the high priest throwing a cross into a nearby body of water.

The waters are baptized through this act, but the real attraction is the local youths plunging into the icy water to retrieve the cross. The one who finds it becomes a local hero, and is believed to be blessed for the entire ensuing year.

This according to “Водичарски обреди и водичарско певање у Македонији” (The Vodici ritual and singing in Macedonia) by Rodna Veličkovska in Научни скуп Дани Владе Милошевића: Зборник радова (The conference Dani Vlade Miloševića: Collection of essays; Banja Luka: Akademija Umjetnosti, 2008).

Below, excerpts from the church and waterside ceremonies in Bitola.

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