January 6, which falls on 12th day after Christmas in the Gregorian calendar, symbolizes not only the end of the Christmas holidays but also the beginning of the Carnival season, which ends with Mardi Gras. In some western countries, like the Czech Republic and Slovakia, kids dress as the three kings and visit houses. In their acts as the kings, or wise men, they sing about the Jesus’ birth and express their allegiance to the “king of kings”. They receive lots of praise and cookies.
Let’s have a quick view how Epiphany is celebrated all over the world!
Dia de los Reyes Magos is also termed as Epiphany celebration of the Latin America. In many Latin American countries, it is the three wise men instead of Santa Claus who offer gifts to children. Children write letters to the wise men praising them and explaining them what gifts they want.
In France Le Jour des Rois(the Day of Kings), often also called the Fête des Rois, is celebrated in the form of parties for children and adults. Thegallete des rois, or “cake of kings”, symbolizes these celebrations. This cake is flat and round, cut into the pantry, wrapped in a white napkin and carried into a dining room.
Children in Spain pack their shoes with straw or grain for the three kings’ horses to offer them and place them on corridors or balconies on Epiphany Eve. The next day they receive cookies, sweets or gifts in their place. The “three kings” goes to many cities in Spain on Epiphany Eve, accompanied by military bands and drummers in medieval attire.
Many churches, specifically Catholic churches, in Australia have specific Epiphany services on or around January 6 every year. Many Epiphany church services emphasize on the three wise men’s (or kings’) visit to Jesus after his birth. Although, many churches also points on the theme of Jesus’ baptism, in which Jesus’ social life begins with his baptism by John the Baptist. Some churches may also throw social gatherings in addition to morning teas, after an Epiphany church service.
There are the paintings, sketches, and artworks that exhibit the three wise men and Jesus. Some paintings and artworks manifest the thre
e wise men on the way to Bethlehem or appreciating baby Jesus. The kings are prominent as their visit explains that Jesus was the king of all kings who came for the Jews and the Gentiles.
Many Orthodox churches believe Jesus’ baptism to be the maiden step towards the crucifixion. The liturgical shade for the Epiphany season is white. Some churches and church-run children’s groups in Australia have kept names after the Feast of Epiphany.
Some Christians honor special church services on January 6. Figures report the three wise men, or the Magi, are placed in some cot scenes on Epiphany. This is particularly true of crib scenes in or in proximity of churches or church schools.
People in the UK take off their Christmas decorations from their houses, schools and workplaces on or prior to the Twelfth Night. Many people think that it is unfortunate to display Christmas decorations after January 6. But the decorations in town centers and shopping malls stay on display for longer, as it can take many more days or weeks to take them all off. The lights in these decorations are not usually turned on after January 6.
Some people throw Twelfth Night parties. They may serve a hot spicy dish termed a wassail or a Twelfth Night cake. A Twelfth Night cake generally contains one whole dried bean and one whole dried pea. The people who find the pea and the bean in their part of cake are proclaimed to be king and queen for the evening.
People in the US Virgin Islands commemorate Three Kings’ Day by focusing and maintaining their Latin American heritage and tradition, especially on the island of St Croix where the day is celebrated by conducting parades, foods, bands, music, and other different types of recreation. Several Christians take part in Epiphany events such as:
Epiphany indicates the starting of the Mardi Gras season in Louisiana. It is traditional to bake king cakes at this time of the year. These cakes may manifest a small trinket (as a baby doll) inside. The person who gets the piece of cake having the trinket gets several special advantage or obligations, like they may be asked to offer the next king cake. The interval between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is known as “king cake season”.
Many Christians in Canada participate in Epiphany activities. These events encompass attending special church services, luncheons, sessions, or evening celebrations focusing on the Christian significance behind Epiphany. Sunday schools for children may have lessons or activities explaining the meaning behind Epiphany.
The English tradition of mummering is observed in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province. It may start as early as December 26 and generally occurs on January 5, or Epiphany Eve. It engages people wearing masks or costumes to camouflage their identity. They visit friends’ or neighbors’ places to sing songs or perform dances. Often men dress as oversized women but they try to cover their identity. People do offer alcoholic beverages and sweets to the mummers.
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