Bulgarian Men in Mad, Icy Plunge to Get Closer to Christ
One of the few things that can bring massive amounts of shirtless men this close to one another in Bulgaria is the celebration of Christ's baptism on Epiphany (January 6), when the race for a wooden cross thrown into an icy lake is as frantic as a shopping stampede at Walmart.
According to Sofia News Agency Novinvite: "The main ritual is performed by a priest who throws a cross into a river or a lake for young men to catch it. It is believed that the first person that gets to the cross will enjoy good health throughout the whole year."
According to the agency, "Krassimir Nikolov, a 22-year-old student at the National Sport Academy, was the first to reach the cross."