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Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, celebrated around the world (Photos)

By Melissa Bell
epiphany
Bulgarian men perform the "Horo" dance in the icy winter waters of the Tundzha River. As a tradition, an Eastern Orthodox priest throws a cross in the river and it is believed that the one who retrieves it, and all those who dance in the waters, will be healthy throughout the year. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me gold, frankincense, and myrrh*. Okay, not me. To baby Jesus. And, I suppose, technically the Magi are not my true loves. But the point is: On the Twelfth Day after Christmas, the story goes, the three kings finally reached the manger (it takes a long time to travel by camel) and presented gifts to the baby. Around the world, the day of Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is marked by celebrations. In Spain, children often wait until Epiphany to open gifts. In Orthodox countries, priests bless a cross and then throw it into a sea or river. Swimmers than race to reach the cross first. In other parts of the world, people race to take down their Christmas trees. It's supposedly bad luck for the year if the tree is left up on that twelfth day. Read more about the history of the day here.

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Performers take part in the "Three Wise Men" Epiphany parade in central Barcelona. Traditionally, children in Spain receive presents on the morning of Jan. 6 delivered by the "Three Wise Men". (Albert Gea/Retuers)
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Men ride their horses during the annual race organized by Orthodox believers in the Romanian village of Pietrosani. Before the race, the horses are baptized with holy water. (Bogdan Cristel/Reuters)
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Discarded Christmas trees are lifted to a shredder in England. People traditionally take down their Christmas decorations ahead of the twelfth night after Christmas, for fear of a year of bad luck. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)
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Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, throws a wooden cross into Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey. (Ibrahim Usta/AP)
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The winning swimmer holds a metal cross during an epiphany ceremony to bless the waters in southern city of Larnaca, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Just for good measure, if you need a theme song for the day, here's Elastica's King of Orient-Ah:

By Melissa Bell  | January 6, 2011; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Picture Shows  
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Comments


What an idiotic celebration.

Why would Mary still have Jesus in a stable (with all the animal and feces), 12 days after his birth?

People who celebrate this fable are morons.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 6, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@kenk33: I thought you liberals accepted everyone?

Posted by: Jsuf | January 6, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse


Not people who (literally) believe in bronze-age stories from an absolutely nasty part of the world.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 6, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Kenk33, what brilliant fable do you believe in?

Posted by: mrbirsinger | January 6, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse


Most intelligent people stop believing in fairytales at about age 9 or 10.

There's little difference between a child believing in Santa and an adult believing in Jesus as a deity.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 6, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I believe in Jesus as The Deity.

I see, you believe the fairy tale that says there is no God--except for the individual, no accountability for one's actions, no right or wrong, just existence. How enlightened and boring.

Posted by: mrbirsinger | January 6, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"I believe in Jesus as The Deity"

-I thought his father was "god" and Jesus was his son. That equals two deities (three deities if you include the "holy spirit".


"I see, you believe the fairy tale that says there is no God--except for the individual, no accountability for one's actions, no right or wrong, just existence. How enlightened and boring."

- Under your logic, not believing in leprechauns is a belief. Is not believing in ancient Egyptian gods a belief too?

- Anyways, belief in a God is not necessary for morality, even in cultures with minimal christian influences, murder, thievery, and lying are punished. Other mammals have forms of morality too, a dog rarely attacks its owner and dogs at play rarely escalates to fighting, and from what I know, most dogs don't believe in your god.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 6, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

This is a cool post. I knew that Epiphany was a church holiday, but I never realized it was such a big deal in so much of the world. For us it just meant it was time to take down the lights.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Your ignorance of the Christian religion hurts your ability to deconstruct it. Also your language, saying that believing that something does or doesn't exist, is a belief. If not, I would think you would not have used the word believing.

"belief in a God is not necessary for morality, even in cultures with minimal christian influences, murder, thievery, and lying are punished."

The minimal Christian influence is the standard. Without it, there is no consistent order, justice, or freedom.

I would add that my religion not being fit for dogs adds to my cause and hurts yours.

Posted by: mrbirsinger | January 6, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

mrbirsinger, you're an ignorat fool.

Murder, thievery, and lying were considered taboo long before any of your christian-religious bs.

Please, shove your religion up your a*s.

Cheers

Posted by: kenk33 | January 8, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

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