Friday was the holiday of Epiphany. For Catholics, the day celebrates the coming of the magi -- or the three wise men -- who visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem after his birth.

For the Orthodox churches the day commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan. In proper celebration of that moment, Orthodox men in Greece and Turkey plunge into frigid rivers and seas in what is known as The Blessing of the Waters.

In some traditions, such as those in Bulgaria, a priest casts a crucifix into the water and worshipers race to retrieve the cross, which will keep them safe from evil spirits.

In some countries the celebration also features parades and reenactments of the journey of the wise men, and in Rome on Friday Pope Benedict XVI lead a mass.