Chinese participant celebrates Three Kings' Day

Liu Zhenwen, a Chinese medicine doctor has impersonated Melchior, one of the Biblical Magi, during a traditional Three Kings' Procession held in Poland annually on Jan. 6.

It is the second time for Liu to play the part of a king from the Far East, much to the joy of children and adults coming to watch the procession. Soon after the event, Liu shares his experiences with Xinhua reporter.

The Biblical Three Magi, Three Wise Man, or, most common, Three Kings, were, according to the Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners, who paid a visit to the newly-born Jesus and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Their names were Melchior, Caspar (Polish: Kacper) and Balthazar. Their origin was not clearly stated, however, they were traditionally regarded as visitors from the Far East. In Polish tradition, the colorful processions commemorating the Kings has become an indispensable event. The Three Kings Day, also known as Epiphany, is annually celebrated on Jan. 6.

This year, almost 420 Polish cities witnessed the processions led by the Three Kings, including big towns, such as Warsaw, Poznan, Krakow, Katowice and Gdansk, and numerous smaller cities. President of Poland Andrzej Duda took part in the procession in Warsaw Old Town.

During the same procession, Liu, wearing green, was riding a Chinese dragon, representing Asia. The other king Balthazar, representing Africa and wearing blue, was riding a camel, while Caspar, representing Europe, was wearing red and riding a horse.

Liu has already been living in Poland for seven years and speaks fluent Polish.

"It is already the second time for me to play the King's role," he said, "This year, with the presence of President Duda and his spouse, who sang Christmas carols together with us, it was even more solemn."

The procession began in the Old Town and passed by the roads.

"People were waving hands at us, singing and performing together with the actors," recalled Liu, "Children accompanying Melchior were also wearing green and holding plates with the word 'friendship' written in Chinese."

The procession is traditionally following the Bethlehem Star and can be joined by anyone. An integral part of the processions are people singing Christmas carols.

Many of them dress themselves and their children in colorful clothes, playing the roles of the Kings' court members and other figures, such as the founder of Polish state -- prince Mieszko and his wife Dobrawa.

It is also an opportunity to present the traditional Christmas performances, the so-called "Jaselka", a few hundred years old Polish folk tradition. Children are excited to see the exotic animals, the Kings are riding at, such as camels, rare view in cold Polish winter.

Asked about his feeling about the event, Liu said: "As a Chinese, I was deeply moved to be able to take part in the Polish traditional festival. I wish Poland and Polish people a good and happy new year and hope that everything goes smoothly."

"I also hope there is more cultural exchange between Poland and China, so that people can mutually get to know more about customs and traditions," said Liu.

In 2015, the Three Kings' procession was held in 330 Polish towns, with more than 1 million participants on site and 1.5 million spectators in front of the television. The Three Kings' Day marks the beginning of the carnival.

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