RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Christians around the world are celebrating Epiphany, the official end to the Christmas holiday, on Thursday.
Epiphany, known as the Baptism of Christ for the Orthodox and Three Kings Day for Catholics, commemorates the visit of three Magi, or wise men, to the baby Jesus.
Festivities take place on Jan. 6 or the evening before, including parades with floats, music shows and people dressing as the wise men and sharing gifts with people.
Pope Francis held an Epiphany Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Orthodox Christians’ spiritual leader, held Mass in Istanbul before a traditional ceremony known as Blessing of the Waters.
People compete to get a floating cross that is thrown into the sea during the Blessing of the Waters ceremony. These ceremonies are held in predominantly Orthodox Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.