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Muscovites mark Epiphany with icy dip

Jan. 19, 2013 at 2:36 PM

MOSCOW, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Icy air temperatures didn't faze more than 82,000 Moscow residents who took a dip in frigid lakes and rivers Saturday to celebrate Epiphany, officials said.

A spokesman for the Moscow branch of the Emergency Ministry said the temperature at the time of the early morning celebration was a less-than-balmy 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit, RIA Novosti reported.

The Russian Orthodox Church observes Epiphany Jan. 19. The religious event commemorates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.

More than 50 bathing sites were set up across Moscow, where cross-shaped holes were cut into the ice. Celebrants typically plunge into the water three times near midnight in honor of the Holy Trinity.

About 260 rescuers monitored the frigid goings-on.

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