After Christmas, in which the birth of Jesus, the Child God, is celebrated, the Epiphany of the Lord either Epiphany of Kings, as one of the most relevant episodes for the Catholic religion. What is that period, when is it celebrated and how many days does it last?
The word “Epiphany“comes from the Greek Epiphany, which means “appearance, manifestation”. The Church celebrates three events with the name of Epiphanies:
- Epiphany of the Lord before the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12)
- Epiphany to Saint John the Baptist in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17)
- Epiphany before the disciples with the miracle in Cana (John 2:1-12)
The Epiphany of the Lord is the adoration party that the Magi gave to the Child Jesus. It has the meaning of revelation of jesus to the world, making himself known as the savior of humanity. That is why in the Bible this moment is fixed as that of the manifestation of Godwho takes the form of a man on earth.
It might interest you: 3 things about the Magi that the Bible does not say
When is the Epiphany of the Lord celebrated?
Some cultures established that Epiphany is the Sunday that follows January 1. However, it has become a tradition that the Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6.
January 6 originates from the feast of the Epiphany in the Church of the East. This is the date that both Egypt and Arabia celebrated the Winter Solstice, whose figure of worship is the Sun. During the pagan celebration, the rituals included chants with the phrase: “The Virgin has given birth, the light grows.” From there, it gave way to the Catholic and Christian celebration.
How is the Epiphany of Kings celebrated?
Two of the most common traditions on Three Kings Day are give gifts to children just as the Kings brought gold, incense and myrrh when they arrived in Bethlehem. This is done as a symbol of generosity and it also makes them part of the fantasy that surrounds these characters from the East who saw the King born.
In countries like England and other European cultures, January 5 is known as Twelfth Night, which is the culmination of the twelve days of festivities around Christmas. They have the habit of having a party with family and friends with food, songs and gifts. An important rite is that they usually mark the doors of homes with chalk to ask for God’s blessing.
This same idea of Twelfth Night is known in New Orleans as the beginning of religious festivities that continue until Marti Gras (or Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday).
On the other hand, there is the Rosca de Reyes, which is a bagel decorated with strawberries, sugar, quince, and figs, although variations are found in various parts of the world. The Rosca or Roscón de Reyes represents the circle of protection of children and, in particular, of the Child Jesus, when the King Herod wanted to find the newborn to get rid of himsince he did not conceive of someone more powerful.