According to Orthodox beliefs, Vodici (also known as the Baptism of Jesus Christ) represents the day when St. John the Baptist baptizes Jesus Christ in Jordan. The baptism in the Orthodox Church represents a spiritual birth and beginning of the human life in faith.
The celebrations have two segments and last two days – the first one on 19thJanuary is named “Mashki Vodici” (Male Vodici), and the second on 20thJanuary is named “Zhenski Vodici” (Female Vodici). Historically, in Skopje there was a custom that on these days the sons-in-law and their first-born sons, as well as the daughters-in-law and their first born daughters, respectively, were bathed in the river Vardar and sprayed with holy water by a priest.
Today, every year on 19th January, in many places throughout Macedonia, priests traditionally throw the ritual cross in a large water area and people jump for the cross. There is a belief that the person who catches the cross will be blessed for a whole year.
The ritual symbolizes the entrance of Christ in Jordan. The most visited rituals happen in Skopje and Ohrid. The air and water are cold but nevertheless, believers are inspired to jump in and swim in order to find the cross. This Orthodox custom is very specific to Macedonia – do not miss it.