Hundreds of Bulgarian men took a dip in freezing rivers and ponds on January 6 to celebrate St Jordan's Day (Epiphany Day). Every year on January 6 the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates the baptism of Jesus in river Jordan by John the Baptist.

Traditionally, a priest throws a cross in the river or pond and the person who collects it is supposed to remain in good health for the whole year.

The day is also observed as a day of feast to celebrate the revelation that Jesus was God in human form.

In Bulgaria, which has a dominant Eastern Orthodox Church population, the festival is known by different names such as Krastovden (Day of the Cross) or Voditsi (Waters). The night before St. Jordan's Day is the last one of the "incensed" nights.

First such celebrations were reported in Bulgaria in 917 AD.

Major celebrations were also organised in the capital Sofia's Alexander Nevsky square where ministers and senior government officials gathered to mark the occasion; it is believed that the celebrations would bring good health and prosperity to the entire country.

Bulgarian men dance in the icy waters of the Tundzha river during a celebration for Epiphany Day in the town of Kalofer, some 150 km (93 miles) east of Sofia January 6.Reuters
Bulgarian men in the icy waters of the Tundzha river during a celebration for Epiphany Day in the town of Kalofer.Reuters
A crowded Tundzha river. Men forming a serpentine queue to collect the cross.Reuters
Some of them carrying the Bulgarian flag.Reuters