Everything You Need To Know About Epiphany

The Epiphany is one of the major festivals in the Christian calendar. Ohmymag will help you uncover the origin, significance, and traditions of this religious festival.

Everything You Need To Know About Epiphany
Everything You Need To Know About Epiphany

Everything You Need To Know About Epiphany

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1. The date: It is on the 6th of January.

2. The origin: An important word linked with the Epiphany is “manifestation” or “appearance” in Greek, the Epiphany has its origins in the Pagan festival of light. In fact, from the 6th of January each year the days start to get considerably longer. Like many other Pagan festivals, this celebration became Christian because of the Pope, who was in this case, Epiphanius of Salamis. It was firstly intended to commemorate the birth of Christ but the Epiphany is now famous for being the time when the three wise men came to see Jesus.

This story is told to us in Mathew’s gospel. Shortly before the birth of Jesus the wise men (Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar) came from the Orient on a journey to Bethlehem, they were guided by a star to the stable where Mary gave birth to Jesus. Once they arrived, they knelt before the baby Jesus and offered him gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

3. The traditions: Each country throughout the world has different traditions to celebrate the Epiphany. In France, it is customary to have the “Galette des Rois” the “Cake of Kings” on the day of the Epiphany. This cake can be made several different ways but the most common form is a puff pastry pie filled with frangipane, its round and golden appearance is meant to represent the sun.

Another form of this cake is made of brioche, is Bundt shaped and is decorated with candied fruit. Similarly, in the UK it is tradition for a rich fruit cake, called the Twelfth Night Cake, to be eaten on the Epiphany. It traditionally contains a whole dried pea or bean, the person who gets it in their portion is crowned as the king or queen for the evening.

Although, the Epiphany is most known in the UK as a time to take down Christmas decorations and cards as it is considered bad luck to display them after January the 6th. Other Christian countries also have different traditions. For example, in Spain and Portugal the day of the Epiphany is a bank holiday and the children receive more presents than at Christmas!

In Belgium and the Netherlands, it is tradition for children to sing in the streets and go door-to-door asking for fruit and sweets. Although, this tradition seems to be disappearing and is being replaced by simply having the “Galette des Rois”.

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