Although the Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honour started in the 1920’s between the first and second World Wars, warfare and political circumstances led to its postponement for several decades.
The years of war stopped its organization in Serbia. Then after winning the battle against Fascism, the former Communist regime of President Josip Broz Tito do not allow the organization of the event.
Upon the integration of democracy in Serbia in the last part of the 20th century, the tradition of Epiphany swimming was renewed in Serbia.
The Epiphany swimming is held throughout Serbia and usually takes place in rivers and lakes because Serbia does not have borders along a sea or ocean. Every event in Serbia is 33 meters in honour of the number of years Jesus lived on earth.
The Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honor is held in water close to 0ºC (32ºF) on January 19th in the Old City Beach in Šabac and other places throughout Serbia. “We restarted the event in Šabac in 2004 when 70 competitors took part,” explained Vojislav Mijić together with the local swimming club, the Dolphins of Šabac.
The previous winners have included:
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