ZAGREB, 6 January 2021 – Christian Croatians will be taking down their Christmas trees and decorations all over the country on Wedneday as the nation observes Epiphany, the Feast of Three Kings, with a public holiday.
The holiday celebrates the biblical story in which the Three Kings, or Three Wise Men, visit baby Jesus after his birth.
Three Kings’ Day is celebrated on the Twelfth Day of Christmas being January 6, and throughout history it has been a day where water is blessed, and homes sprinkled with blessed water to ‘ward off evil’.
Three Kings’ Day is one of the oldest Catholic holidays and many Croatians will also take part in traditions on the day. Old traditions include the visit of homes by three boys dressed as Kings known as ‘Starmen’ (Zvjezdari). Carrying a bright star in their hands, the ‘Starmen’ sing church hymns to bring spiritual good to the home they visit.
Another tradition is the taking of a quick swim in a nearby river or sea. Pope Francis will lead a Mass today in the Vatican Basilica.