Christians around the world are celebrating Epiphany – the day when the Three Kings of Orient arrived in Bethlehem to present Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria, Greece and Albania dived into freezing water to retrieve a wooden crucifix, in a tradition dating back to Byzantine times.
The Three Kings – Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar – paraded through the streets of Madrid and other Spanish cities laden with sweets and presents for children.
In Spain, Three Kings Day is considered by most people to be more important than Christmas and many Spanish children wait until January 6 to open their presents.
Pope Francis celebrated Epiphany with a solemn Mass at St Peter's Basilica. As he arrived in the papal basilica, Francis stopped to wave incense and kiss the feet of a baby Jesus statuette.
Meanwhile, many parts of the world have just started celebrating Christmas. Eastern Orthodox churches, including the ancient Assyrian Church, the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and the Coptic Church, use the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar used in the west.
This article was first published
on January 6, 2015