- Title: Serbians challenge the freezing cold in a swim on Epiphany day
- Date: 19th January 2017
- Summary: DRAGAS' HAND HOLDING TROPHY/CROSS IN TRIUMPH MEDIA AND SPECTATORS TAKING GROUP PHOTO OF PARTICIPANTS
- Embargoed: 2nd February 2017 13:02
- Keywords: Epiphany day cold Serbia
- Location: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- City: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0055ZQY915
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hundreds of Serbians braved cold weather on Thursday (January 19) and plunged themselves into icy rivers and lakes to celebrate the Epiphany day. The swim symbolizes the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan.
At Belgrade's Ciganlija lake a crowd of around 2,000 cheered on some 60 participants who braved the minus 2 degrees Celsius temperature, a chilling northern wind and dove into the 2-degree cold water. The swimmers raced 33 metres - standing for 33 years of Christ's life - between the two rafts.
Traditionally, the race is between 33 swimmers, but the number is often exceeded because of interest.
The fastest among the men was a 22-year Serbian military academy student, Aleksa Dragas. Soldiers, policemen and members of a Serbian society called the Knights of Svibor, which nurtures medieval traditions and combat techniques, were joined by a handful of believers, as well as a couple of women and children.
The race took place along a strip of water cut out of the solidly frozen lake in Belgrade's recreational and sports resort. Similar events were held elsewhere in the capital and across Serbia. In Prokuplje, in southern Serbia, the race was held in an indoor pool because a nearby lake was frozen solid.
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