Precisely at midnight chairman of the Regional Legislative Assembly and head of the Novgorod regional branch of the All-Russian Tempering and Sports Winter Swimming Federation Anatoly Boitsev who is known in the region as a great lover of winter swimming dived into an ice-hole cut right under the St. Sofia's belfry.
Other Novgorod lovers of winter swimming, both women and men, the age of some of whom came close to 70 years, dived into the ice-hole, too. Despite the fact that the temperature of water in the Volkhov river was about zero Celsius, some Novgorod inhabitants spent a few minutes in the ice-hole, after which they went "to bathe" in the near-by snow drifts.
After the winter swimmers left the ice-hole, the townspeople who gathered near it washed themselves with the Volkhov water and poured it into vessels and water tanks. As the Novgorod winter swimmers say, the winter bathers in the Volkhov do not experience any health problems to speak of till next January.