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

  • AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis 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. 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/Emrah Gurel 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.

  • AP Photo/Emrah Gurel 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.

  • AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski Warsaw residents taking part in the annual Epiphany procession in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday.

  • AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski Actors representing Mary and Joseph walk in Warsaw’s annual Epiphany procession in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday.

  • AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis People parade through the streets as part of celebrations of Three Kings Day in Vilnius, Lithuania, Saturday. Epiphany, the 12th night of Christmas, marks the day the three wise men visited Christ.

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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