Russians plunge into icy waters to mark feast of Epiphany

MOSCOW (AP) — Across Russia, the devout and the daring are observing the Orthodox Christian feast day of Epiphany by immersing themselves in frigid water through holes cut through the ice of lakes and rivers.

Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ as the incarnation of God through his baptism in the River Jordan.

Russian believers imitate the baptism by entering the water and ducking themselves three times either on the evening before Epiphany or on that Jan. 19 feast day. Many make the sign of the cross, some others hold their noses.

The ritual is watched by priests who have blessed the water. Emergency workers are also on hand in case anyone succumbs to the heart-racing shock of the icy immersion.

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