RT’s correspondent braves traditional dive into holy water on Epiphany day (VIDEO)

Thousands of people across Russia braced themselves and dove into freezing waters to mark the Orthodox Christian holiday of Epiphany overnight into January 19. RT’s Emily Siu earned first-hand experience of how much guts it takes to wash away your sins.

The day Jesus Christ was baptized is one of the largest religious holidays for Orthodox Russia with more and more people every year daring to take a plunge into cold water in a ritual which is believed to have healing powers and can cleanse you of your sins.

Emily Siu who covered the event this year had to test her resistance to low-temperatures as part of an event that has turned into an annual tradition for RT’s correspondents.

“It’s very, very cold. And I feel like I’ve experienced the real Russian winter,” said Siu, who was rolled in a towel as soon she got out of the specially cut-out ice-dipping area.

After putting her clothes back on, but still looking a bit cold, Siu said she wasn’t sure that she would ever take part in the ritual again.

“One thing for sure, hot tea never tasted this good,” she said, taking a good gulp of steaming hot brew.