All About Epiphany

Three+Kings+spotting+the+star

iessephoto via pixabay.com

Three Kings spotting the star

Mia Vargas-Garcia, Contributor

Do you celebrate Epiphany? Epiphany is a holiday celebrated on January 6th. It is mainly celebrated by Christians and Catholics. Other celebrators include Lutherans and Anglicans. The Twelfth Night, January 5, is the eve of Epiphany. It occurs in the Christian calendar on January 6. Epiphany is celebrated for the Three Kings, or Wise Men, visiting baby Jesus. It was claimed that they were studying the stars when they spotted Jesus’ star. After following it, they arrived at the nativity scene, with gifts for the infant in order to worship Jesus.

The Twelve Days of Christmas, or Christmastide, start on Christmas and end on Epiphany, or January 6. During this time period, people celebrate the birth and nativity of Jesus. It is enjoyed with pastries like the rosca, and children often get small gifts in their shoes as a symbol for the Three Kings giving gifts to Jesus.

The most popular way it’s celebrated that you’ll most likely hear is with the traditional pastry, the rosca. Inside of it, there are small figures that resemble holy people, like Jesus. Everyone around the table takes turns cutting the sweet bread. If your slice contains the figure, then you usually have to make food for the others or throw a party. However, it’s not mandatory to do so. 

Rosca de Reyes (omqjessx via commons.wikimedia.org)

Eastern Christianity

With Eastern Christianity, Christmas and Epiphany are celebrated on December 25 and January 6 using the Julian calendar. This is equal to the 7th and 9th of January, using the Gregorian calendar, and ends at sunset on January 18. 

The period between Christmas and Epiphany is a time period with one celebration leading to another. The Nativity of Christ is a three-day celebration. On the first day, not only is the Nativity of Jesus celebrated, but also the Adoration of the Shepherds of Bethlehem and the Three Wise Men. The second day celebrates the Virgin Mary in the Incarnation. The third day is the feast day of the Protodeacon and Protomartyr Saint Stephen. December 29 is the Orthodox Feast of the Holy Innocents, and The Afterfeast of the Nativity proceeds until December 31.

Continuing to January, the 1 is the Circumcision of Christ, and beginning on January 2 and ending on January 5 is the forefeast of Epiphany.

Western Christianity

During the 12 Days of Christmas, there is a mix between secular and non-secular, or religious, holidays.

December 26 is St. Stephen’s Day. To others, it is also known as Boxing Day. New Year’s Eve is on December 31 and is also the feast of Pope St. Sylvester I. 

In many nations like the United States, the Solemnity of Epiphany is on the first Sunday after January 1, which can happen as early as January 2. Then, the solemnity is celebrated on the Twelve Days of Christmas, even if they are considered to end on January 5 instead of the 6.

Other Western holidays are the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist on December 27, the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28, Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr on December 29, and the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on December 30. 

In January, there is the feast of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus on January 2, and the Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus on January 3.