Poles celebrate the Feast of Epiphany with street parades
PR dla Zagranicy
Wednesday marks the Feast of Epiphany, one of the oldest and most important holidays in the Roman Catholic Church, and a public holiday in Poland.
A representatation of 'The Star of Bethlehem' that lit the way for the Three Kings. Epiphany procession, Warsaw. Photo: wikimedia commons/poland-heute.de
It commemorates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem to pay tribute to Jesus, twelve days after his birth.
The term 'epiphany' means 'to reveal' and so in the Catholic tradition by bringing gifts to the Christ child, the Three Magi reveal Jesus to the world as Lord.
In many countries, including Poland, the Feast of Epiphany is known as Three Kings' Day. It has been a public holiday in Poland since 2011, after a break of over five decades.
Three Kings Parades, first introduced into Poland eight years ago on a modest scale, have this year embraced the parishes and local communities in 420 towns and localities across the country.
In Warsaw, two such events are organized, on both banks of the Vistula River. In the main ceremony in the city’s Old Town, the parade is led by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, the archbishop of Warsaw. A Pole, a Chinese and a Nigerian pose as the Three Kings. They are surrounded by the children dressed in three colours, red symbolizing Europe, green for Asia and blue for Africa. The event includes interludes on the Christmas theme and the singing of carols.
The theme of this year’s parades – “Mercy comes first. Love. Peace. Forgiveness” – refers to the Holy Year of Mercy observed in 2016 in the Roman Catholic Church. Funds are being raised for the organization of the World Youth Days with Pope Francis in Kraków at the end of July. According to the organizers, the parades are likely to draw up to 1.5 million people. (mk/nh/pk)