Epiphany 101


Borrowing from the incomparable list-making of Alejna, this is a list related to EPIPHANY.

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Epiphany: In name and title


Epiphany: Sudden flashes of realization

  • Epiphany, the sudden discovery of some meaning.
  • Epiphany is also used to describe religious visions, such as Theophany, Hierophany, and Darsana.


Epiphany: A holiday around the world

  • According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three Kings (Magi) followed a Star in the heavens to the Baby Jesus, arriving with gifts for him on the day now celebrated as Epiphany.  Melchior represented Europe, arrived on horseback and brought gold.  Gaspar represented Arabia, arrived in camel, and brought frankincense.  Balthazar represented Africa, arrived on elephant, and brought myrrh.  Most Christian calendars recognize this date as January 6th.
  • Some branches of Christianity celebrate the coming of Epiphany by honoring it as the Twelfth Night.  These Christians Twelve Holy Days from December 26th to January 6th is considered the spiritual heart of the year to follow, with January 6th as “Holy of the Holiest.”
  • In England, “Twelfth Night” is traditionally the last opportunity to party before the resumption of post-holiday work.  The “Yule Log” is kept lit until Twelfth Night to bring good fortune in the new year.
  • Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the Baptism of Jesus with the Feast of Theophany (literally, “manifestation of God”) on January 6th.  They also perform the “Great Blessing of the Waters.”  In Greek Orthodox tradition, during the “Blessing of the Waters” celebration, young men dive into the water to retrieve a cross that was thrown in by a priest after being blessed.  The first man to find it is believed to have good luck for a year.
  • In Ireland, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th under the name Little Christmas (Nollaig Bheag) , or Women’s Christmas.  This is the first time I’ve heard of Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan), but the general idea is that men take up all duties related to house, home, and family, and women party all day.
  • Italian children hang their socks on the eve of January 6th for Befana to visit to fill them with candy or coal, behavior dependent.  This is similar to Russia’s Baboushka who also provides presents on the eve of Epiphany.
  • In Spanish tradition, on the even of the Day of the Kings (El Dia de los Reyes), children polish and leave their shoes ready to accept presents from the Kings.  Roscon, a special type of bread decorated with candy fruit, is made.
  • In Mexico, children may leave shoes near the family nativity season or under a tree, with notes with toy requests for the Kings, sometimes with offerings of hay for the Kings’ animals.  A bread called Rosca de Reyes is made in the shape of a King’s crown and holds a small doll inside.  The person who finds the doll in their bit of Rosca is responsible for throwing a party on February 2nd, “Candelaria Day”.
  • Similarly, in Puerto Rico, children traditionally fill a box with hay and put it under their beds.  They eat Rosca de Reyes in the evening, with a small doll inside representing the baby Jesus.
  • The Christmas season ends on January 6th in the Philippines for Tatlong Hari (“Three Kings”).  Children here also leave shoes out, so that candy or money may be placed inside.  Others greet one another with the phrase “Happy Three Kings!”
  • The gâteau des Rois is eaten in France on Epiphany.  This is a kind of king cake, with a trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king) or a bean hidden inside.  The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes “king” for a day.  King cakes are eaten in other areas of Europe, including Belgium and Portugal.
  • King Cake is also available in Louisiana starting on January 6th, as Epiphany marks the start of the Carnival Season, which lasts to Mardi Gras Day.  (Side note: I’m all about blasphemy, but eating King Cake before January 6th is seriously messed up.)


Epiphany: The day that comes tomorrow

  • Epiphany = January 6th = tomorrow.
  • It is the last day of the yearly daily blogging event, Holidailies.
  • King cakes will go on sale in New Orleans; Paul will have jury duty; and Kate will go to the Aquarium on a field trip.
  • My age will change from age 21 to age 22.  In hex.
  • Tomorrow, January 6th, is My Birthday.

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