Epiphany / Trzech Króli
Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated in Poland on January 6th. It is called “Święto Trzech Króli” (Feast of the Three Kings) as it honors the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem to pay tribute to Jesus, 12 days after his birth.
According to tradition, Polish people go to church on that day to receive a blessing on their boxes, which contain a gold ring, chalk, incense, and a piece of amber to recall the gifts of the Magi. Later that day, Poles mark “K+M+B+[year]” with the blessed chalk on the top of their home’s front door. Letters stand for the names of the Three Magi: Kacper, Melchior, and Baltazar. It is believed that this custom protects against illness and bad luck.
Epiphany was reinstated as a public holiday in Poland in 2011 after 51 years. Many people participate in a colorful street parade (“orszak”), a new tradition. The Feast of Epiphany closes out the period of the 12 holy nights (“święte wieczory”) that starts on Christmas Day. It also initiates the carnival season (“zapusty”).
Below, you will find a few pictures from “Orszak” taken between 2014 and 2019 in various Polish cities. All photographs © Grzegorz Litynski, www.litynski.com.
Further reading in English:
Further reading in Polish: