Christians across the world are celebrating Epiphany and Theophany, the day when the Three Kings of Orient arrived in Bethlehem to visit the infant Jesus, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Epiphany 2017
A man dressed as King Balthazar, one of the Three Kings shakes hands during the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) in Vic in the Catalonia region of Spain, to mark the eve of the feast of EpiphanyJosep Lago/AFP

Usually celebrated on 6 January, Epiphany, also known as Three King's Day, is a momentous day for many. It falls on the 12th day after Christmas, marking the end of the festive season.

Epiphany 2017
Disguised participants hold torches as they parade during the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) in Vic, marking the eve of the feast of EpiphanyJosep Lago/AFP
Epiphany 2017
A man dressed as King Melchior, one of the three wise men or the Three Kings waves during the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) in Vic, on the eve of EpiphanyJosep Lago/AFP

Colourful parades were held across Spanish villages, towns and cities on the eve of Epiphany. In Madrid, volunteers of San Carlos Borromeo parish, dressed as the three Kings, handed out gifts In the shanty town settlement of El Gallinero. In the Bulgarian town of Kalofer, hundreds of men braced the icy waters of the Tunzha river, as part of the Epiphany celebrations. Traditionally, an Eastern Orthodox priest throws a cross in the river and it is believed that the one who retrieves it will be healthy throughout the year as well as all those who dance in the freezing temperatures.

Epiphany 2017
A volunteer of San Carlos Borromeo parish dressed as Balthasar, one of the Three Wise Men, gives away gifts in the shanty town settlement of El Gallinero, in the outskirts of Madrid, SpainJuan Medina/Reuters
Epiphany 2017
A disguised participant with a make-up mask smiles during the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) in Sevilla, Spain
Epiphany 2017
Young participants throw sweets during the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) in Sevilla, SpainCristina Quicler/AFP
Epiphany 2017
A man dressed as King Balthazar, one of the three wise men or the Three Kings throws sweets during the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) in Sevilla, marking the eve of EpiphanyCristina Quicler/AFP
Epiphany 2017
An eldery woman kisses a wooden cross during a ceremony marking the orthodox Epiphany Day in a southern suburb of AthensAris Messinis/AFP
Epiphany 2017
A wooden cross is thrown to the sea during the blessing of the water ceremony marking the Orthodox Epiphany Day in a southern suburb of Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/AFP
Epiphany 2017
A swimmer kisses a wooden cross after retrieving it from the sea during the blessing of the water ceremony marking the Orthodox Epiphany Day in a southern suburb of AthensAris Messinis/AFP
Epiphany 2017
People plunge to retrieve a wooden cross thrown into the sea, during the blessing of the water ceremony marking the Orthodox Epiphany Day, in Greece's northern port of ThessalonikiSakis Mitrolidis/AFP
Epiphany 2017
A swimmer kisses a wooden cross retrieved from the sea, during the blessing of the water ceremony marking the Orthodox Epiphany Day, in Greece's northern port of ThessalonikiSakis Mitrolidis/AFP
Epiphany 2017
Greek Orthodox swimmers jump off a boat as they compete to retrieve a wooden cross from the Bosphorus river's Golden Horn, as part of the Epiphany Day celebrations at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, TurkeyOzan Kose/AFP
Epiphany 2017
Greek Orthodox swimmer Nicolaos Solis holds the wooden cross retrieved from the Bosphorus river's Golden Horn, as part of celebrations of the Epiphany Day at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate in IstanbulOzan Kose/AFP
Epiphany 2017
Greek Orthodox swimmer Nicolaos Solis kisses the hand of Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew near the Bosphorus river's Golden Horn in IstanbulOzan Kose/AFP
Epiphany 2017
An Orthodox faithful kisses a cross during a celebration for Orthodox Epiphany Day in Famagusta, CyprusYiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters
Epiphany 2017
Participants take part in the traditional Three Kings swim to celebrate Epiphany at the Vltava River in Prague, Czech RepublicDavid W Cerny/Reuters
Epiphany 2017
A participant stands in a snow after the traditional Three Kings swim to celebrate Epiphany at the Vltava River in Prague, Czech RepublicDavid W Cerny/Reuters
Epiphany 2017
Men jump to catch a wooden crucifix during Epiphany day celebrations in Sofia, BulgariaStoyan Nenov/Reuters
Epiphany 2017
Men break the ice as they wade in the icy waters of the Tundzha river, in front of others who are dancing and singing during a celebration to commemorate Epiphany Day in the town of Kalofer, Bulgaria
Epiphany 2017
Men dance in the icy winter waters of the Tundzha river in the town of Kalofer as part of the Epiphany Day celebrationsNikolay Doychinov/AFP
Epiphany 2017
Men wave flags and play instruments in the icy waters of the Tundzha river in the town of Kalofer as part of the Epiphany Day celebrationsNikolay Doychinov/AFP