Ice-swimming is a well known tradiotion in frostry Russia which has deep routes in Eastern Orthodox Christianity but became one more way of making oneself fit and healthy.

Every year on the 19th of January thousands of people across Russia dive in an ice hole to celebrate the Epiphany. The holes are usually made in a form of a cross in lakes and rivers. According tradition one should dive tree times in the water around midnight to honor the Holy Trinity.
Nowadays this activity is popular among many people regardless of their religious beliefs. It is now regarded as cold training which helps stay healthy during winter. The city's govenment organizes rescue teams at every place prepared for swimming and aslo warm tents where one can change into a swimming suit, drink hot coffee and tea.
Besiades, it is very exciting and not at all dangerous if you do it right. Of course it has some contra indications - please do not do it if you have a fever or pnumonia! Ice swimming is integral for Russian winter experience and exciting any incentive program in this time of year.