Polar Bear Plunge Day features ice swimming enthusiasts who are “freezin’ for a reason” as they take a polar dip to raise funds for a good cause. And then there are those who participate in a Polar Plunge just for the challenge.
First Polar Bear Plunges
Winter swimming began in Boston as early as 1865 thanks to immigrants who believed that cold water plunges before or after a sauna was good for your health.
The patrons of the L Street Bathhouse believed swimming & tanning were miraculous cures for whatever ails you.
They were called Brownies due to their deep tans from sunbathing & swimming in the nude.
They are the oldest Polar Bear Club, but their first documented Polar Plunge wasn’t until 1904, so the Coney Island Polar Bear Club which was founded in 1903 claims to be the oldest winter bathing organization.
Bernarr Macfadden, creator of the first bodybuilding magazine Physcial Culture, was the founder of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.
Today they swim in the Atlantic Ocean every Sunday from November through April. But on New Year’s Day, thousands join in from all over the country.
The ultimate hangover cure?
It’s been said that the Polar Bear Plunge happens on New Year Day because it is the best hangover cure for those who partied too hardy on New Year’s Eve. Gotta try it to see.
I don’t know if it alleviates a hangover, but January 1 is National Hangover Day too, so why not combine the two celebrations into one.
It’s what Canadians do on New Year’s Day.
Two of Canada’s best comedians, Rick Mercer & Ron James, take the Polar Bear Plunge into the Atlantic Ocean at Herring Cove, Nova Scotia for charity, Food Banks of Canada.
If a Polar Bear Plunge is just too much for you, try another January 1 daily holiday.
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