July 6, 2015
The origin of the tradition of water day in Novosibirsk is very murky. Some say it involves mermaids, others sea monsters, others a water snake. I prefer the legend of the water fairy of Lake Baikal near Irkutsk. It goes like this:
"Local lore has it that there was a fairy of love. Her job was to distribute love among those who needed that in life. She wanted love to prevail the world over. She also protected Baikal's natural surroundings and used to be on the shores of Baikal every night.
One night she met a man who just appeared on the shore of Baikal out of the blue. The man's name too was Baikal: mortal, deprived, lonely, and it looked from his face that he needed some love in life. The fairy saw him and fell head over heals, taking it as a test case. Led over the waves of sympathy and challenge, they instantly crossed all the distances usually not possible in a short time. They together wove hopes for the future.
But their love came to a tragic end. Baikal thought he was no match to the fairy. He was afraid of himself being human. And one day, he disappeared all of a sudden without any explanation, without warning. The fairy kept looking for him, found him and cut off his feet, making him unable to move. Who will decide about this love affair?"
The events of water day involve throwing water on people at every opportunity. It is a city-wide water fight a little like the picture at right, except this was taken elsewhere.
God had gotten into the act several days earlier with a terrific rainstorm in Novosibirsk that dumped several inches of water. At one point the wind was a good 40 mph and the rain came down in sheets. Later on Water day He again joined in the fun again by raining outside. We also participated by having no water inside, literally. Our water was shut off for some reason, but was on by the next morning. Quite a Water Day.