At least 117 Siberians are in the hospital on account of tainted well water. It’s a pity Forbes doesn’t have a better article about this but:
A spokesman for local investigators told The Associated Press on Monday that 117 people, including 48 children, are in the hospital complaining of acute intestinal pain after drinking water from wells around a local church last week.
Vladimir Salovarov says a total of 204 people required some medical treatment. Salovarov said is too early to say what caused the illness.
Why were they drinking unclean water? Because the 19th of January is celebrated as Epiphany and they believe any water drank that day will be holy water. Know what else they do on the 19th over there? They go swimming in their holy-for-one-day water. Even if it’s -60C. From RiaNovosti:
On this day, while honoring an old Russian tradition, believers dive into ice holes, usually made in the form of a cross, in lakes, rivers and other water bodies.
Some 30,000 believers dipped themselves in ice holes in 37 fonts in Moscow where waters were blessed by Orthodox priests during the night, with 260 rescuers monitoring the safety of swimming as air temperature was below minus 20 degrees Celsius.
A Moscow district official and some other 50 people bathed in an Epiphany font in the center of the Russian capital.
“I feel as if I was reborn. This is the first Epiphany bathing in my life and I am sure it won’t be the last,” Leonid Sidorov, deputy head of Moscow’s Central Administrative District, told journalists.
The feast’s peculiar feature is the rite of the Great Blessing of Water, performed in Russian churches twice – on January 18, on the eve of the feast, and on Epiphany proper, after Divine Liturgy.
Holy water is then given to believers, who store it for long periods and use it to cure illnesses and bless themselves or things and premises around them. Some people think any water – even from the taps on the kitchen sink – poured or bottled on Epiphany becomes holy.
Have I said lately how much I love being an atheist? I don’t have to buy into any ridiculous crap like this. I hope everyone recovers from their holy water bugs and lives to tell the tale of how God chose them to be .. well, patsies to tradition, I guess. Next time just boil the hell of it first, okay?