Epiphany bathing. Are they mad or what?

Above, a woman bathes in the icy waters of a pond during the Russian Orthodox Church’s Epiphany celebrations near Kiev, January 19.

Orthodox believers mark Epiphany on this day in line with the Julian Calendar by diving into ice holes, usually made in the form of a cross. The celebration marks the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan – though presumably it was a little warmer there.

A cross-shaped hole is usually cut in the ice to mark the baptism of Christ

A cross-shaped hole is usually cut in the ice to mark the baptism of Christ

In Moscow some 30,000 took a dip in 37 fonts across Moscow where waters were blessed by Orthodox priests as air temperatures fell to below minus 20 degrees centigrade.

“I feel reborn. This is the first epiphany bathing in my life and I am sure it won’t be the last,” Leonid Sidorov, deputy head of Moscow’s Central Administrative District, told journalists.

And we thought those who cracked the ice at London’s Serpentine were tough!