The Epiphany of the Lord, which is celebrated in Russia on January 19, is one of the most important Orthodox holidays of the year. It is dedicated, as church books say, to the most important event that happened in the life of Jesus Christ. It was on this day that the Savior came to John the Baptist and asked him to baptize. And during this ceremony in the Jordan River, heaven opened in its waters, and the Holy Spirit descended on Christ in the form of a dove, and people heard the voice of God, who called Jesus his son. That is why Baptism is also called Epiphany.
On this day, a festive service is held in all Orthodox churches, during which water is blessed. She is considered holy and healing, capable of retaining its properties for more than one year. They drink Epiphany water, sprinkle people, dwellings, icons, etc., many people even bathe in the ice-hole, despite the frost, which intensifies precisely on these January days. Such a natural phenomenon even received the common name "Epiphany frosts".
And indeed earlier, a hundred or two hundred years ago, this phrase made sense, since winters were more severe and snowy than today. However, even without accurate meteorological data on winter temperatures in the past, it can be assumed that even then Epiphany frosts were a fickle phenomenon.
This is evidenced by folk signs. Indeed, according to the observations of the peasants, who were most interested in the future harvest, the thaw at Epiphany, frost and fog were considered favorable signs. They were sure that a warm day on this holiday is for good bread; clear weather - for drought and the harvest of peas; snowy - portends an excellent buckwheat harvest.
If Epiphany frosts are stronger than Christmas ones, then, according to signs, the year will be successful for most crops; if they last for a week, they will be replaced by a week of thaw, after which the frost will be even stronger, but already the last this winter.
Nowadays, it makes no sense to talk about Epiphany frosts. There are both severe frosts and strong thaws, but most often the temperature is just average. From a scientific point of view, frost, tied to a specific date in the calendar, does not exist, because the weather is a random process associated with the chaotic movement of air in the atmosphere.
And, of course, neither the duration, nor, moreover, the degree of cooling does not repeat itself in different years at regular intervals. So the "Epiphany frosts" are only an artificial and purely psychological link to a religious date, and far from the only one, since there are still Christmas, Sretensky, Nikolsky, Timofeyevsky and other frosts.
Frosts and religious holidays may not coincide in date also because between the main winter holidays, for example, Christmas, Epiphany and Timothy, the time interval is about two weeks, and such a natural phenomenon as a cyclone “lives” for only a week. And it is the cyclone, not the date of the holiday, that determines the time of the onset of frost.