Taking the icy plunge

Taking the icy plunge

Advertisement

Braving the freezing Russian winter, a man descends into the Istra River during celebrations to mark Epiphany Day.

In the Russian Orthodox Church, the holiday falls on January 19 and commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ. Some believers observe the occasion by immersing themselves in water - icy as it may be - to symbolically wash away their sins.

1 / 10

Slideshow

A woman descends into an icy pond during Epiphany celebrations outside St. Petersburg. Some believe that taking a cold dip during Epiphany celebrations not only helps to wash away their sins, but is also good for the health.
. ST. PETERSBURG, Russia. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

A woman descends into an icy pond during Epiphany celebrations outside St. Petersburg. Some believe that taking a cold dip during Epiphany celebrations not only helps to wash away their sins, but is also good for the health.

A man plunges into freezing waters near the village of Zadomlia, some 40 km (25 miles) east of Minsk.
. ZADOMLIA, Belarus. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

A man plunges into freezing waters near the village of Zadomlia, some 40 km (25 miles) east of Minsk.

A believer emerges from the water during celebrations in Almaty.
. Almaty, Kazakhstan. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

A believer emerges from the water during celebrations in Almaty.

Servicemen of the Belarussian Interior Ministry's special unit wait in a queue to bathe in a lake near the village of Zadomlia, east of Minsk.
. ZADOMLIA, Belarus. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Servicemen of the Belarussian Interior Ministry's special unit wait in a queue to bathe in a lake near the village of Zadomlia, east of Minsk.

Believers jump into the Ribnica River in an attempt to grab a wooden cross, thrown into the water by a priest during Epiphany celebrations in Montenegro. It is believed that catching the cross brings health and prosperity.
. PODGORICA, Montenegro. REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

Believers jump into the Ribnica River in an attempt to grab a wooden cross, thrown into the water by a priest during Epiphany celebrations in Montenegro. It is believed that catching the cross brings health and prosperity.

Believers wade into the sea in the Russian Olympic City of Sochi.
. SOCHI, Russia. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

Believers wade into the sea in the Russian Olympic City of Sochi.

Pilgrims bathe in the water during a ceremony at Qasr el-Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River, the place where it is believed John the Baptist baptised Jesus.
. JERICHO, Palestinian Territories. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Pilgrims bathe in the water during a ceremony at Qasr el-Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River, the place where it is believed John the Baptist baptised Jesus.

A priest blesses a cross-shaped hole cut into the ice of the Chulym river during Epiphany celebrations in Siberia.
. NAZAROVO, Russia. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

A priest blesses a cross-shaped hole cut into the ice of the Chulym river during Epiphany celebrations in Siberia.

A man swims in a freezing lake in Minsk.
. MINSK, Belarus. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

A man swims in a freezing lake in Minsk.

People queue to bathe in the Istra river, near Moscow.
. ISTRA, Russia. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

People queue to bathe in the Istra river, near Moscow.