Many Christians and Catholics around the world celebrate Epiphany and Theophany, Three Kings Day and Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve. This is the day when the Three Kings of Orient arrived in Bethlehem to present Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It also celebrates of the Baptism of Christ by John in the Jordan River.
Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas, falls on January 6 and marks the official end to the festive season for many Christians. In Prague, Czechs take part in the traditional Three Kings swim in the Vltava River (which is freezing, by the way!) alongside the medieval Charles bridge.
These images are from last year, but we are certain the festivities are on this year as well.
Walking to the scene…
Sometimes little family members help to prepare the body for the icy water.
The sign announces the temperature. The water is 1C (33.8F) and the air is -1C (30.2F). In other words, it’s freezing!
But the spirits and excitement are surely keeping the crew warm on the inside!
Everyone looks to be in good spirits, and there’s even a woman who will be swimming!
Aboard the boat, there is no turning back.
…And some try to stay warm, while others stay undressed to prepare the body for the icy waters.
One last wave before it’s time to dive in!
They look comfortable enough…
In fact, everyone seems to be enjoying the swim!
Looks like the Three Kings have arrived!
Now they swim towards where they can climb out of the water safely…
Finally, they exit the water and after a few quick words with media, we’re sure they are all looking for their coats and dry clothing!
Participants receive a keepsake certificate that they partook in the swim.
And finally, (we knew it was coming) they are all treated to hot spiced rum cider.
We cannot express the deliciousness of this drink and the ability to warm you from the inside out.
Take it from us, it’s good medicine!
And of course, a hearty meal of good Czech food!
We were up at the castle, watching the Three Kings Procession of which you can glimpse in our video.
But here is the real treat…
If you enjoyed these images, you can watch this video as they go through the whole ordeal.
It almost feels as though you’re there – so you’d better get a nice cup of hot rum tea to stay warm!
Not enough? Here’s the same from the year before…