Orszak Trzech Króli
The “Trzech Króli" is the Three King’s Day (Epiphany) in Poland. This is first and foremost a religious celebration. People gather in churches and after the holy mass, many return home with a piece of blessed chalk. An old tradition invites them to write “K+M+B” on the front door of their house. These letters have a double meaning. Most people will tell you that they are the initials of the Three Kings: Kaspar, Merchior and Balthazar. But the original meaning is in latin “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means Christ blesses this house.
Trzech Króli Day is also a very popular celebration in the streets. Since 2010, the 6th January is a national holiday and one of the most attended events of the Catholic calendar. Even smallest village mobilizes resources and participants for the celebration. A foundation promotes and encourages this event with a theme - “Bóg jest dla wszystkich” (God is for everyone) this year. For many Polish families, this is the occasion to celebrate with joyful parades and gatherings. The procession of the Three Kings (Orszak Trzech Króli), is open by a big Bethleem Star (Gwiazda Betlejemska) . They are followed by a joyous crowd of children throwing sweets, colored papers and feathers. Many families prepare the event with much devotion. The mobilization of schools and parishes results into an irresistible competition of costumes, nativity scenes and caroling groups.
I was in Warsaw, on January 6, 2018. The climate was absolutely ecstatic. The main procession went from the Royal Castle to the Pilsudski Square. Coming from 3 continents, the Wise Men were escorted by two camels and a dragon. They were followed by a countless number of shepherds, angels, musicians, Roman legions, knights with banners. Horses, donkeys, sheep and doves were also present. On Pilsudski Square, a concert of carols was organized on a giant scene, with TV screens and a live TV broadcasting. On the other side of the square, two large scenes were proposed for the performances of participating schools and parishes. There was an extraordinary succession of groups singing carols (kolędy), nativity scenes (Jasełki), poetry declamation and religious readings. Everyone had beautiful paper crowns on the head. Free hot drinks and cakes were distributed. Parents were delighted and children were thrilled. I went back to my apartment with a paper crown and confectioneries traditionally shared on Trzech Króli Day in Warszawa.
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