Several courageous Greeks braved the freezing temperatures on Tuesday, to participate in Epiphany Day celebrations, one of the most important days of the Greek Orthodox religion.

The "Blessing of the Waters" ceremony at Greece's main commercial port of Piraeus was officiated by the country's Archbishop Ieronymos and was attended by Greece's main opposition Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras, army leadership and state officials.

Just before the Archbishop threw the cross into the water, Tsipras released a white dove into the sky.

Daring Greeks braved the cold waters and dived for the cross from navy vessels that were moored at the port for the Epiphany celebrations.

The cross, which was blessed by the archbishop, is believed to bring good luck for the year ahead to those who retrieve it.

The ritual of throwing a cross into the water is carried out across the country and commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

In parts of the country where there is no access to the sea, the custom is carried out in rivers, lakes and even fountains.

Greece was plunged into election fever during the holiday season when a snap general election was called for January 25 after the ruling conservatives were unable to gather enough votes for their candidate for Greek president.

The election will mark a showdown between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' right wing New Democracy party, which imposed unpopular budget cuts under Greece's bailout deal, and the far left Syriza, who wants to cancel austerity measures along with a chunk of Greek debt.