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January 6, 2009
Epiphany ceremonies
Throughout the world on Tuesday, people jumped in icy waters, lit bonfires and paraded through the streets to mark the Feast of the Epiphany. The celebration is held on the 12th day of Christmas and marks the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. (19 images)

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Bulgarians dive into icy water as they compete to catch a cross in the middle of a lake in Sofia on Epiphany Day on Jan. 6, 2009. It is believed that the man who is the first to grab the cross, thrown into the water by an Eastern Orthodox priest, will be healthy throughout the new year. AFP / Getty Images / Dimitar Dilkoff

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Bulgarians sing and round dance in the river Tundzha, as they celebrate Epiphany day in the town of Kalofer, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. The Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross into the river and the men dive in to retrieve it in a ceremony commemorating Epiphany. It is believed that those who dance in the river will be healthy throughout the year. AP / Petar Petrov



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Bulgarians sing and dance in the river Tundzha, as they celebrate Epiphany day in the town of Kalofer, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. AP / Petar Petrov



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About 1,000 bonfires are lit up on the hills surrounding the southern village of Pottenstein on Jan. 6, 2009. The annual festivity is celebrated traditionally on Epiphany to commemorate the Eternal Adoration. AFP / Getty Images / Timm Schamberger



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Evaggelos Kargiofilis celebrates after retrieving a wooden cross during an Epiphany ceremony in Greece's northern port city of Thessaloniki on Jan. 6, 2009. AFP / Getty Images / Sakis Mitrolidis



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A priest gives a blessing to Evaggelos Kargiofilis, right, who retrieved the wooden cross from the water, during an Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. Similar ceremonies to mark Epiphany Day were held across Greece at river banks, seafronts and lakes. AP / Nikolas Giakoumidis



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Swimmer, Joshoua Samios holds the cross after retrieving it from the water, during a traditional ceremony to bless the water in Greece's Perama port near Athens, on Tuesday. Jan. 6, 2009. Similar ceremonies to mark Epiphany day were held across Greece on river banks, seafronts and lakes, where an Orthodox priest throws a cross into the water and swimmers race to be the first to retrieve it. AP / Petros Giannakouris



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Orthodox believer Georgios Mihailidis, from Kavala, Greece, back left, retrieves the wooden cross from the waters of the Golden Horn water course in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. Greek Orthodox men braved the cold winter weather to dive into Istanbul's Golden horn, in a race to retrieve the wooden cross, which was thrown into the water by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the World's Orthodox Christians, in a traditional ceremony commemorating Epiphany. AP \Ibrahim Usta



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A priest blesses a horse during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations in the village of Pietrosani, 50km north from Bucharest, Tuesday Jan. 6, 2009. As part of the local Epiphany customs, following the religious service, villagers get their horses blessed with the Holy water then organize a horse race. AP / Vadim Ghirda



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People wearing Befana outfits take part in the annual Befana parade in Viterbo on Jan. 5, 2009, on Epiphany Eve. A 52-meter stocking is carried by 100 people dressed up in the typical outfit of the old woman. The stocking is filled with Befana dresses, paper bags and gifts for children and is carried along the streets of the city center in Viterbo during the annual meeting of the Epiphany. In Italy, Epiphany is celebrated with the tradition of La Befana, an ugly old woman bringing presents to children during the night of Jan.5. AFP / Getty Images / Tiziana Fabi



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Filipino kids scramble to get candies given by men dressed as the Three Kings during celebrations in Manila on Sunday Jan. 4, 2009. Christmas in this dominantly Roman Catholic nation officially ends on the Feast of the Three Kings, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. AP / Aaron Favila



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Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with members of the congregation during the celebration of the solemnity of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Basilica, on Jan. 6, 2009 in Vatican City, Vatican. The pope adressed his speech to pilgrims and tourists stating his wish to encourage diplomatic efforts and mutual dialogue towards a peaceful resolution of the ongoing Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Getty Images / Franco Origlia



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Children look on as the Three Kings Day Parade passes in East Harlem Jan. 6, 2009 in New York City. The parade celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, marking the Biblical story of the visit of three kings to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus, revealing his divinity. Getty Images / Mario Tama



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Camels wait for the Three Kings Day Parade to begin Jan. 6, 2009 in New York City. The parade celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, marking the Biblical story of the visit of three kings to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus, revealing his divinity. Getty Images / Mario Tama



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Children watch a perfomer on stilts at the Three Kings Day Parade Jan. 6, 2009 in New York City. The parade celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, marking the Biblical story of the visit of three kings to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus, revealing his divinity. Getty Images / Mario Tama



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Members of the Babilionia family watch from their East Harlem window as the Three Kings Day Parade passes Jan. 6, 2009 in New York City. The parade celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, marking the Biblical story of the visit of three kings to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus, revealing his divinity. Getty Images / Mario Tama



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Children wait for the Three Kings Day Parade to begin in East Harlem Jan. 6, 2009 in New York City. Getty Images / Mario Tama



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Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta tosses the cross into Spring Bayou as 62 divers go after it during the 103rd annual Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs, Fla. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. AP / St. Petersburg Times / Jim Damaske



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Pantelis Kontodiakos, 17, of Tarpon Springs comes up with the cross amidst 62 divers during the 103rd annual Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs, Fla. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. AP / St. Petersburg Times, Jim Damaske



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