Today is Epiphany. Here’s what that means and how it’s celebrated across the world

U.S. and World

Citizens of the mountain town of Kalofer, in central Bulgaria, clad in traditional dresses stand in the icy Tundzha River, some waving national flags to recover a crucifix cast by a priest in an old ritual marking the feast of Epiphany, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The legend goes that the person who retrieves the wooden cross will be freed from evil spirits and will be healthy throughout the year. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

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.

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