AP PHOTOS: World celebrates Epiphany with icy dips, parades

Polar swimmers take part in the traditional Three Kings swim in the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Prague castle is in the background. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Nicolaos Solis from Greece holds up the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, center, conducts a mass at the Patriarchate's church prior to the traditional throwing of a wooden cross into the waters during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
EDS NOTE : SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. A young girl displays a crown taking part during The Cabalgata Los Reyes Magos (Cavalcade of the three kings) the day before Epiphany, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The parade symbolizes the coming of the Magi to Bethlehem following the birth of Jesus, marked in Spain and many Latin American countries Epiphany is the day when gifts are exchanged. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
EDS NOTE : SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. A young girls is carried by one of Tree King during The Cabalgata Los Reyes Magos (Cavalcade of the three kings) the day before Epiphany, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The parade symbolizes the coming of the Magi to Bethlehem following the birth of Jesus, marked in Spain and many Latin American countries Epiphany is the day when gifts are exchanged. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Warsaw residents taking part in the annual Epiphany procession in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Men dressed as the Three Kings ride on camels during a procession of the Three Kings across the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The procession, which annually marks the end of the Christmas festivities in Prague, is a re-enactment of the journey of the Three Kings to visit the infant Jesus. Prague Castle is in the background. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
People parade through the streets as part of celebrations of Three Kings Day in Vilnius, Lithuania, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Epiphany, the 12th night of Christmas, marks the day the three wise men visited Christ. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
Performance artist Roberto Martinez Perez, dressed as one of the Three Kings, reads a newspaper while waiting for families wanting to pose for souvenir photos on the eve of the Epiphany, in the historic center of Mexico City, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. In Mexico, it is customary for people to give gifts on Three Kings Day also known as the Epiphany, commemorated on Jan. 6. According to Christian tradition, Jan. 6 marks the arrival of three wise men bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Angelos Filoxenidis, center, raises a cross retrieved from the sea during a water blessing ceremony marking the Epiphany celebrations in the Paleo Faliro suburb, southern Athens, Greece, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Similar ceremonies marking Epiphany were held across Greece on river banks, seafronts and lakes, where Orthodox priests throw a cross into the water and swimmers race to retrieve it. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Actors representing Mary and Joseph walk in Warsaw's annual Epiphany procession in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Nicolaos Solis from Greece kisses the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
A priest blesses horses before the traditional Epiphany celebration horse race in Pietrosani, Romania, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. According to the local Epiphany traditions, following a religious service, villagers have their horses blessed with holy water then compete in a race. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Pope Francis incenses the altar as he celebrates an Epiphany Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Francis, in a homily Saturday to mark Epiphany, said people are “often make do” with having “health, a little money and a bit of entertainment.” (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A man takes a photo of a procession of the Three Kings marching across the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The procession, which annually marks the end of the Christmas festivities in Prague, is a re-enactment of the journey of the Three Kings to visit the infant Jesus. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Pope Francis kisses a statue of the Divine Infant as he arrives to celebrate an Epiphany Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Performance artist David Antonio Lopez De La Fuente Campos, dressed as one of the Three Kings, waits for families wanting to pose for souvenir photos on the eve of the Epiphany, in the historic center of Mexico City, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. In Mexico, it is customary for people to give gifts on Three Kings Day also known as the Epiphany, commemorated on Jan. 6. According to Christian tradition, Jan. 6 marks the arrival of three wise men bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
An assistant rings a bell to get children to look toward the camera as a family poses for photographs with performers dressed as the Three Kings on an elaborate set at a fair in Mexico City, Friday, on Jan. 5, 2018, the eve of the Epiphany. In Mexico, it is customary for people to give gifts on Three Kings Day also known as the Epiphany, commemorated on Jan. 6. According to Christian tradition, Jan. 6 marks the arrival of three wise men bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

ISTANBUL — Icy dips in the sea. Parades with camels, kings and crowns. Presents for homeless children and admonishments to live a better life.

All this took place Saturday as Christians around the world celebrated the holiday of Epiphany, which recalls the three kings, or magi, who reportedly followed a star to find the baby Jesus.

The date — Jan. 6 — is commonly known as "Day of the Magi" in Latin America and it's when children traditionally unwrap holiday gifts rather than on Christmas Day. It's also known as "Three Kings Day" as well as Epiphany.

Pope Francis, during a homily at Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, asked "what star we have chosen to follow in our lives?" He urged people not to make the pursuit of money, a career or success the basis for their whole life but to help those in need instead.

In Istanbul, the Greek Orthodox Christian community celebrated Epiphany with a traditional blessing in which a cross is tossed into the water and retrieved by swimmers.

Epiphany parades filled the streets of several nations, including Spain, Lithuania and Poland, where parents and children wearing paper crowns marched with performers in costume.

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