Poles celebrate Feast of the Epiphany
PR dla Zagranicy
Today marks the Feast of the Epiphany, one of the most important celebrations in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Three Magi: image - wikipedia
Since 2010, 6 January has been a holiday and a work-free day in Poland, re-introduced as such after a lapse of fifty years after being abolished as a holiday by the communists in 1960.
The Feast of the Epiphany 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.
Epiphany is celebrated with a wide array of customs in Poland. In Warsaw, an Epiphany procession is being held for the fifth successive year, beginning at noon at Castle Square, the entrance to the Old Town.
Most Polish Catholics today bring a blessed piece of chalk from their local church and use it to inscribe the date – 2014 – and the letters C, B and M above the front door of the house. They stand for the names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and also abbreviate the Latin phrase ‘Christus mansionem benedicat’ - ‘May Christ bless the house’.
In Poland, Epiphany is also a day of prayer for and assistance to Polish missionaries. Donations from the faithful in all churches today go for the support of over 2,000 Polish missionaries and nuns working in 98 countries around the world. (nh)