05 Jan Epiphany, the Revelation of Christ
Epiphany falls on the 6th of January and marks the end of the festive season. It is however, more than just the 12th and final day of Christmas. Here is what this day means to devout Christians all over the world.
The Beginning of Epiphany
The Christian feast day of Epiphany originated in the East, where it celebrated Jesus’ birth and his baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. In the 4th Century, Christians in the West also started celebrating the Epiphany. Here, however, it was (and is to this day) also associated with the Wise Men’s visit to the baby Jesus. Having followed a star to find the child in Bethlehem, the three men offered (Matthew 2:11) the child three symbolic gifts:
- Gold, to represent his royal standing
- Frankincense, to represent his divine birth
- Myrrh, to represent his mortality
The word epiphany is derived from the Greek word epiphainein, which means to show, or reveal. It is used to celebrate this visit by the three men because it is said that it was here that Jesus, the revelation of God himself, was first revealed to the world.
In Medieval times, Christmas was celebrated for 12 days. Epiphany, the last day of the celebrations, was given as much significance (right up to the 19th Century) as Christmas Day. Today, Epiphany is celebrated differently by different churches.
In Protestant churches, this day commences the season of Epiphany, which typically extends up to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent (which in turn leads up to Easter). The six Sundays following Epiphany are commonly referred to as the ‘time of manifestation’, with the last Sunday being celebrated as the day of transfiguration, or Transfiguration Sunday.
Other churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, treat Epiphany as a single day, with the following Sundays being regarded as ‘ordinary time’. In some US Catholic dioceses, the Epiphany is marked on the Sunday following the 6th of January., while Orthodox Christians do not celebrate this feast until the 19th of January.
More About Epiphany
Here are some interesting facts about the Day, or Feast, of Epiphany:
- In Spanish-speaking countries, the day is also often referred to as ‘Three Kings Day’ (Dia de los Reyes). Here, traditional food includes the ‘Three Kings Cake (Roscón or Rosca de Reyes), and anyone who finds a tiny statue of the Baby Jesus in their slice throws a Candlemas party in February.
- Usually referred to as Balthazar, Caspar & Melchior, the three wise men, or kings, represented Africa, Arabia and Europe respectively.
- In the past, the tradition was to serve roast lamb on the day of Epiphany.
- In some countries in Europe, straw for the three kings’ horses is left out, while in others, children leave out their shoes the night before Epiphany in the hope to find them filled with gifts in the morning.
- In Greek and Eastern (Bulgaria) Orthodox traditions, a cross is cast into the waters (rivers, lakes, the sea) to bless them. Worshippers will then dive in to try to retrieve the cross.
- A traditional regatta that started in the late 70’s as a joke has been incorporated into Epiphany celebrations in Venice.
- In Prague, the day is traditionally commemorated with the ‘Three Kings Swim’ at the River Vltava.
Finally, El Museo de Barrio in New York has promoted and celebrated Three Kings Day with annual parades involving colourful floats and puppets; camels and singing of aguinaldos (carols) for over 30 years.
The gift of myrrh not only represented Jesus’ mortality, but also prepared his family for what was to come – his suffering and death by crucifixion. While I do by no means claim that anything a Psychic Phone Reading can reveal to you will be as profound as this, knowing what lies ahead can help you prepare for the future, too. Give me a call today to learn more.
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