Tradition trumps weather at annual Epiphany ceremony

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Saturday marked the 112th Epiphany Ceremony and annual Epiphany cross dive.

More than 50 teen boys took the plunge but only one came up with the wooden cross - representing a year of good fortune.

Per Greek Orthodox tradition, it's a blessing for all who take part but one thing they weren't blessed with this year was warm weather.

It's a tradition that dates back 100 years.

Each year the Epiphany Ceremony, thought to be the largest in the Western Hemisphere, draws tens of thousands to Tarpon Springs.

Greek Orthodox children grow up watching, eagerly awaiting their turn to take part.

FWC was on-hand, keeping a close eye on the water temperature. It was about 55 degrees - colder than last year -  but the water was actually warmer than the air temperature outside.

Because of how chilly it was this year, organizers took precautions to keep these boys safe.

That means thermals, blankets, and even paramedics standing by.

The guys were given permission to step outside of their traditional attire – an Epiphany shirt and shorts.

But all 57 teens stuck with tradition, barefoot and wearing only their swim trunks and t-shirts.

Christian Chrysakis retrieved the cross and, per tradition, a year of blessings along with it.