Like every year, the Three Kings procession took place in Toruń. Citizens marched with large figures from the Old Town to the New Town, wearing crowns on their heads and having fun. There were also some attractions – an orchestra, dances, concerts – as well as beautiful wishes for the whole year.
For context: On Three Kings’ Day, Polish people celebrate the night when legendary Magi (the Three Kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) followed a miraculous guiding star and travelled to Bethlehem, where they welcomed and paid homage to baby Jesus Christ. As their gifts, they are said to have brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The procession attracted crowds
The 6th of January was a colourful and joyful day that brought crowds to the Old Town. Also this year, Three Kings’ Day (also known as Epiphany) could not be celebrated without a colourful procession with four-meter giant figures – the Three Kings and Nicolaus Copernicus. The procession set off at 12:30 from the Copernicus Statue towards the New Town square. At the forefront, you could see girls wearing white, smiling and leading the procession with a dance in their step. Right behind them – an orchestra carrying wind instruments. An angel was walking on stilts alongside two marching devils – one even breathed fire! An elephant was there, too. What’s interesting, this tradition of boisterous celebrations of Three Kings’ Day came to us from Spain.
Despite the winter weather, the procession turned out to be very popular. People interested by the event lined up along Szeroka Street. You could also get your own crown there – red, green, or blue. For those who wanted to attend the concerts – Joanna Kaczmarkiewicz, Viki Gabor and the famous Boys’ and Men’s Choir from the Poznań Philharmonic called “Poznańskie Słowiki” (translation: Nightingales from Poznań) performed.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the tradition of blessing gold and frankincense – then resin of the juniper – was developed, which was used to protect houses and farmyards from misfortune and diseases. Since the 18th century, chalks were also being blessed and then used to write the letters C+M+B and the current year on the front door of homes on Three Kings’ Day. These are the initials of the legendary Three Kings – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Traditionally, this day was also the beginning of Carnival. In Polish folk tradition, it’s the time of carolling. People dress up as kings, angels, or devils to visit neighbourhood houses, wishing the inhabitants prosperity.
You can read the original text in Polish here.