Epiphany in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
According to the internet, Monday was Epiphany, which in Eastern Christian churches celebrates Jesus' baptism. In Bulgaria, the Orthodox church has a special service next to a river or lake. A priest throws a wooden cross into the water and tradition says that the person to pull it out will be healthy and free from evil spirits all year. Thanks to the missionaries, who told us about it, Seth, Jon and I got to see the celebration just a few minutes from our house at the Maritsa River. It was pretty cool!
Priests chant and sing a religious service accompanied by military officials. Part of the celebration here in Bulgaria is blessing the various branches of the military.
Lots of men (many of them military, judging by the number of military vehicles and buses and guys in uniform) in the river after one of them retrieved the wooden cross. Obviously, the river is pretty shallow there, but there were divers on the banks, just in case, I guess.