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Hundreds brave the cold sea for New Year's Day charity dip
02 January 2020 @ 17:32


NEW YEAR'S Day tends to get off to an uncomfortable start in coastal parts of Spain – and not just because of the monster hangover or stomach acid from forcing down 12 grapes in as many seconds.

In Barcelona and in Jávea (northern Alicante province), residents famously take a freezing dip in the sea on the first day of each year – a tradition dating back decades that requires a hefty dose of courage; not just from those participating, but from those watching, since it is enough to send a chill down any spectator's spine and have them reaching for their warmest coats.

Spain's second-largest city has been staging its New Year's Day dip since the dawn of 1996 on Sant Sebastiá beach, organised by Barcelona Athletic Swimming Club, and normally involves a token fee for participants, which goes to charity.

In Jávea, the January 1 sea-swim started as a one-off event many years ago by the British-run bar The Lancashire Bruja on the Arenal beach, and became a custom which has never yet been broken.

All participants have to be in fancy dress when they get wet, and cannot claim to have 'completed' the challenge unless they manage to stay submerged to at least shoulder-height for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Few succeed in staying there more than the 10 minutes.



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