Hundreds of Europeans celebrated Christmas with a dive into the icy waters of the Atlantic or the balmier Mediterranean. Others preferred a swim into lakes or rivers, while in Greece on Jan 6 a brave man jumps into the water to catch the cross.

Great Britain

In Great Britain, young and old people put on their Santa Claus hats…and their bathing suits and take a dive into the icy cold waters of the Atlantic on the west coast of Cornwall.

Thousands of Britons gathered on the sandy shores of Cornwall and run into the sea. The brave brits seemed to mind neither the cold weather and waters not the wind and as its customary they took their Christmas dive.


Further south, in France and the Riviera, despite the 3 degree temperature but on a rather sunny day, the French dived into the cool waters of the Mediterranean.

Others preferred to take a dive into lakes.

In Strasburg, dozens of residents of the French city, after warming up, jumped into the waters of Lake Ballastière.


In Spain, the Copa Nadal Christmas swimming competition takes place, in which men, women and children of all ages take part.  They put on Santa’s outfit, wigs, they sing and the race begins.

Locals say the 200m swimming competition in Barcelona’s harbor is a century-old tradition.


A different tradition is followed by Greeks on Jan. 6, the Epiphany or Theophany, the 12th day after Christmas and a major religious holiday.

A priest throws a Cross into the waters, part of a sanctification liturgy, with young boys and men jumping in afterwards to catch the Cross.