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In some regions this person has a choice between offering a beverage to everyone around the table usually a sparkling wine or champagne , or volunteering to host the next king cake at their home. This can extend the festivities through all of January. In the German-speaking lands, groups of young people called Sternsinger star singers travel from door to door. They are dressed as the three Wise Men, plus the leader carrying a star, usually of painted wood attached to a broom handle.

Often these groups are four girls, or two boys and two girls for the benefit of singing their songs in four-part harmony. They are not necessarily three wise men. German Lutherans often note in a lighthearted fashion that the Bible never specifies that the Weisen Magi were men, or that there were three.

The star singers solicit donations for worthy causes, such as efforts to end hunger in Africa, organized jointly by the Catholic and Protestant churches, and they also will be offered treats at the homes they visit. Usually on the Sunday following Epiphany, these donations are brought into churches. Here all of the children who have gone out as star singers, once again in their costumes, form a procession of sometimes dozens of wise men and stars.

The German Chancellor and Parliament also receive a visit from the star singers at Epiphany. Some Germans eat a Three Kings cake which may be a golden pastry ring filled with orange and spice representing gold, frankincense and myrrh. Most often found in Switzerland , these cakes take the form of Buchteln but for Epiphany, studded with citron, and baked as seven large buns in a round rather than square pan, forming a crown.

Or they may be made of typical rich Christmas bread dough with cardamom and pearl sugar in the same seven bun crown shape. These varieties are most typically purchased in supermarkets with the trinket, and gold paper crown included. It is the "Great Celebration" or Theotromi. In some regions of Macedonia West it is the biggest festival of the year. The Baptism of Christ symbolizes the rebirth of man, its importance is such that until the fourth century Christians celebrated New Year on this day.

Customs revolve around the Great Blessing of the Waters. During this ceremony, a cross is thrown into the water, and the men compete to retrieve it for good luck. The Phota form the middle of another festive triduum , together with Epiphany Eve, when children sing the Epiphany carols, and the great feast of St. John the Baptist January 7 and eve , [93] when the numerous Johns and Joans celebrate their name-day.

It is a time for sanctification, which in Greece means expiation, purification of the people and protection against the influence of demons. This concept is certainly not strictly Christian, but has roots in ancient worship. In most parts of Greece a ritual called "small sanctification", Protagiasi or "Enlightment" is practiced on the eve of Epiphany. The priest goes door to door with the cross and a branch of basil to "sanctify" or "brighten" the rooms by sprinkling them with holy water.

The "Great Blessing" happens in church on the day of the Epiphany. In the Churches in a special rig embellished upon which brought large pot full of water [ clarify ]. Then the "Dive of the Cross" is performed: According to popular belief, this ritual gives the water the power to cleanse and sanitize.

In many places, after the dive of the cross, the locals run to the beaches or the shores of rivers or lakes to wash their agricultural tools and even icons. Indeed, according common folk belief, icons lose their original strength and power with the passage of time, but they can be restored by dipping the icons in the water cleansed by the cross. This may be a survival of ancient beliefs. Athenians held a ceremony called "washing": Today, women in many parts repeating this ancient custom of washing the images but combined with other instruments of medieval and ancient magic. Celebrations in Guadeloupe have a different feel from elsewhere in the world.

Epiphany here does not mean the last day of Christmas celebrations, but rather the first day of Kannaval Carnival , which lasts until the evening before Ash Wednesday. In parts of southern India, Epiphany is called the Three Kings Festival and is celebrated in front of the local church like a fair. This day marks the close of the Advent and Christmas season and people remove the cribs and nativity sets at home.

Celebrations include a widely attended procession, with boys arrayed as the Three Kings, leading to the Franciscan Chapel of the Magi near the Goan capital of Panjim. Here three young boys in regal robes and splendid crowns descend the nearby hill of Our Lady of Mercy on horseback towards the main church where a three-hour festival Mass is celebrated. The route before them is decorated with streamers, palm leaves and balloons with the smallest children present lining the way, shouting greetings to the Kings.

The Kings are traditionally chosen, one each, from Chandor's three hamlets of Kott, Cavorim and Gurdolim, whose residents helped build the Chandor church in In the past the kings were chosen only from among high- caste families, but since the celebration has been open to all. This is undertaken gladly since having son serve as a king is considered a great honour and a blessing on the family. Cansaulim in South Goa is similarly famous for its Three Kings festival, which draws tourists from around the state and India.


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Three boys are selected from the three neighbouring villages of Quelim, Cansaulim and Arrosim to present the gifts of gold , frankincense and myrrh in a procession. Only a native of these villages may serve as king; outsiders are barred from the role. Throughout the year, excitement runs high in the villages to see who will be chosen. The boys selected are meticulously groomed, and must grow their hair long in time for the festival.

The procession involves the three kings wearing jeweled red velvet robes and crowns, riding white horses decked with flowers and fine cloth, and they are shaded by colourful parasols , with a retinue of hundreds. The procession ends at the local church built in , and in its central window a large white star hangs, and coloured banners stream out across the square from those around it. Inside, the church will have been decorated with garlands. After presenting their gifts and reverencing the altar and Nativity scene, the kings take special seats of honour and assist at the High Mass.

The liturgical season Denhakalam "Weeks of Epiphany" commemorates the second revelation at the Baptism and the subsequent public life of Jesus. Denha is celebrated on January 6 by the Syro-Malabar Church in two ways — Pindiperunnal " Plantain trunk feast" and Rakkuliperunal "Feast with a night bath". On the feast of the Three Kings, women traditionally rested and celebrated for themselves after the cooking and work of the Christmas holidays.

The custom was for women to gather on this day for a special meal, but on the occasion of Epiphany accompanied by wine, to honor the Miracle at the Wedding at Cana. Today, women may dine at a restaurant or gather in a pub in the evening. They may also receive gifts from children, grandchildren or other family members on this day. Other Epiphany customs, which symbolize the end of the Christmas season , are popular in Ireland, such as the burning the sprigs of Christmas holly in the fireplace which have been used as decorations during the past twelve days. The Epiphany celebration serves as the initial setting for — and anchors the action, theme, and climax of — James Joyce 's short story The Dead from his collection, Dubliners.

In Italy, Epiphany is a national holiday and is associated with the figure of the Befana the name being a corruption of the word Epifania , a broomstick-riding old woman who, in the night between January 5 and 6, brings gifts to children or a lump of "coal" really black candy for the times they have not been good during the year. The legend told of her is that, having missed her opportunity to bring a gift to the child Jesus together with the Three Wise Men, she now brings gifts to other children on that night.

Thousands of Jordanian Christians , tourists and pilgrims flock to Al-Maghtas site on the east bank of the Jordan River in January every year to mark Epiphany, where large masses and celebrations are held. It is considered to be the original location of the Baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist and has been venerated as such since at least the Byzantine period. The site has then seen several archaeological digs, 4 papal visits and state visits and attracts tourists and pilgrimage activity. Epiphany was a day of enjoyment, spent in horse-drawn open sleighs , and these quilts would then be taken along to cover the laps of the merry riders.

If the night before Epiphany saw clear starry skies, it meant Latvia could expect a fine harvest in the coming Summer. Weaving and wood-cutting were "bad luck", giving both men and women a proper holiday, and if a dog was heard barking on Epiphany one ought to look for his or her future spouse in that same direction. Special three corner apple cakes are eaten on this day, and as in other countries, star singing, visiting and house blessings have long been popular.

Epiphany, celebrated on January 6, is the feast for the Roman Church that commemorates the visit of the Wise Men, the magi. On the occasion, Lebanese Christians pray for their deceased. It is celebrated by attending church most often to the midnight mass by the maronites. The reason why it is at midnight is because the Christ will be passing to bless homes, also Lebanese Christians who gathered for the mass congratulate each other on that day by saying: They also mix dough made out of water and flour only and it rises outdoors with no yeast by being blessed.

Until the s, January 6 was a public holiday, but today the Maltese celebrate Epiphany on the first Sunday of the year. Children and students still take January 6 as a school holiday and Christmas decorations are lit up through this day on most public streets. The Maltese also have a long-standing custom of presenting concerts in honor of Epiphany, including the prestigious annual Epiphany Concert organized by the Malta Council for Culture and Arts, performed by the National Orchestra. In , the Epiphany Concert which used to be held before a select audience, was opened to the general public following a decision by the President.

The Ministry of Education and Culture therefore moved from the venue from the Palace to the historic Sacra Infermeria, also known as the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

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The evening of January 5 marks the Twelfth Night of Christmas and is when the figurines of the three wise men are added to the nativity scene. Traditionally in Mexico, as with many other Latin American countries, Santa Claus doesn't hold the cachet that he does in the United States.

Rather, it is the three wise men who are the bearers of gifts, who leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. In modern Mexico however, and particularly in the larger cities and in the North, local traditions are now being observed and intertwined with the greater North American Santa Claus tradition, as well as with other holidays such as Halloween, due to Americanization via film and television, creating an economy of gifting tradition that spans from Christmas Day until January 6.

Peru shares Epiphany customs with Spain and the rest of Latin America. Peruvian national lore holds that Francisco Pizarro was the first to call Lima "Ciudad de los Reyes" City of the Kings because the date of the Epiphany coincided with the day he and his two companions searched for, and found, an ideal location for a new capital. Even more popular in Peru than gift giving is the custom of the Bajada de Reyes when parties are held in honor of the taking down of family and public nativity scenes, and carefully putting them away until the next Christmas.

Filipino children customarily leave their shoes out, so that the Kings will leave behind gifts like candy or money inside. Most others on this day simply give the common greeting of "Happy Three Kings! The Spanish name for the holiday has survived to the present in the Philippines as the masculine given name Epifanio e.

Epifanio de los Santos. Due to American influence , the position of the Three Kings as gift-givers has been supplanted by Santa Claus. The Wise Men pass out sweets, children process in renaissance wear, carols are sung, and living nativity scenes are enacted, all similar to celebrations in Italy or Spain, pointing to the country's Catholic heritage.

Children may also dress in colors signifying Europe, Asia, and Africa the supposed homes of the Wise Men and at the end of the parade route, church leaders often preach on the spiritual significance of the Epiphany. In , by an act of Parliament, Epiphany was restored as an official non-working national public holiday in Poland for the first time since it was cancelled under communism fifty years earlier.

Poles though take small boxes containing chalk , a gold ring, incense and a piece of amber , in memory of the gifts of the Magi, to church to be blessed.

Epiphany (holiday)

The letters, with a cross after each one, are said to stand either for the traditionally applied names of the Three Kings in Polish — Kacper, Melchior and Baltazar — or for a Latin inscription meaning "Christ bless this house. The one who gets it is king or queen for the day, signified by wearing the paper crown that decorates the cake.

According to Polish tradition this person will be lucky in the coming year. Recipes vary by region. Some serve a French-type puff pastry cake with almond paste filling, others favor a sponge cake with almond cream filling, and yet others enjoy a light fruitcake. Plays and pageants are popular on this day, and parents often hold parties for their children. Epiphany is also a time when the traditional Portuguese dances known as Mouriscadas and Paulitos are performed. The latter is an elaborate stick dance. The dancers, who are usually men but may be dressed as women, manipulate sticks or staves in imitation swords in two opposing lines.

The singers also bring greetings to the owners of the house. After singing for a while outside, they are invited in, and the owners of the house offer them sweets, liqueurs , and other Epiphany delicacies. These Reis usually begin on Epiphany eve and last until January Portuguese village of Vale de Salgueiro encourages children, some as young as five, to smoke in a tradition that does not have clear roots. It is traditional for children to fill a box with fresh grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the Wise Men's camels.

The three kings will then take the grass to feed the camels and will leave gifts under the bed as a reward. These traditions are analogous to the customs of children leaving mince pies and sherry out for Father Christmas in Western Europe or leaving milk and cookies for Santa Claus in the United States.

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On the day before the feast January 5 , the "Rosario de Reyes" or "Promesa de Reyes" is celebrated with songs aguinaldos promised to be sung to the Kings, usually before a little table with figures of the Nativity and the Kings or with the Kings alone and their camels. This celebration is accompanied with a chicken soup, snacks, and drinks. In Romania and Moldova, Epiphany, is called Boboteaza. In south-eastern Romania, following religious services, men participate in winter horse races. Before the race, the men line up with their horses before the priest, who will bless them by sprinkling them with green branches that have been dipped into Epiphany holy water.

Sometimes people desire to have this blessing for themselves as well. Winning the Epiphany race is a great honor for both horse and rider, while the post-race celebrations, win or not, are highly festive. As in other Orthodox heritage countries, water rites play a special role on this day. The star singing custom had long ago spread throughout Romania and the Republic of Moldova.


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  5. Here the star, called Steaua , today resembles a stained-glass lantern and features an Orthodox icon at its center, a tradition pointing to the blending of both East and West which characterizes the two nations on the river Prut. As elsewhere in the Orthodox world, the Russian Church conducts the rite of the Great Blessing of the Waters, also known as "the Great Sanctification of the Water" on that day or the eve before. Historical records indicate that the blessing of the waters events took place at the courts of Moscow Czars since no later than According to historians, the blessing of the waters procession was the most magnificent of the annual Czar's court's ceremonies, comparable only to such special events as royal coronations and weddings.

    After a divine liturgy in the Kremlin 's Dormition Cathedral , the procession, led by the Czar and the Patriarch of Moscow would proceed to the frozen Moskva River. A small gazebo , called Iordan' , would have been erected on the ice and decorated with holy icons, one of which would depict the Baptism of Christ. The Patriarch would immerse his cross into the river's water; and sprinkle the Czar, his boyars , and the banners of Czar's army's regiments with the holy water. A load of holy water would then be brought back to the Kremlin, to be used in blessing the Czar's palace.

    Believing that on this day water becomes holy and is imbued with special powers, Russians cut holes in the ice of lakes and rivers, often in the shape of the cross, to bathe in the freezing water.

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    Participants in the ritual may dip themselves three times under the water, honoring the Holy Trinity , to symbolically wash away their sins from the past year, and to experience a sense of spiritual rebirth. Orthodox priests are on hand to bless the water, and rescuers are on hand to monitor the safety of the swimmers in the ice-cold water.

    Others limit their participation in the Epiphany rites to those conducted inside churches, where priests perform the Great Blessing of Waters, both on Epiphany Eve and Epiphany Theophany proper. The water is then distributed to attendees who may store it to use in times of illness, to bless themselves, family members, and their homes, or to drink. Some Russians think any water — even from the taps on the kitchen sink — poured or bottled on Epiphany becomes holy water, since all the water in the world is blessed this day. In the more mild climate of the southern city of Sochi meanwhile, where air and water temperatures both hover in the low to mid 10 degree Celsius range 50 degrees Fahrenheit in January, thousands of people jump into the Black Sea at midnight each year on Epiphany and begin to swim in celebration of the feast.

    In Slovenia, especially in the Western part of the country, during the first day of the year and on Epiphany, children go from house to house because villagers will give them almonds, dried figs, nuts, cookies or other good things that they have at home. In Spanish tradition on January 6, three of the Kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, representing Arabia, the Orient, and Africa, arrived on horse, camel and elephant, bringing respectively gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

    Before going to bed on the eve of January 6, children polish their shoes and leave them ready for the Kings' presents to be put in them. The oldest of these parades is held in Alcoi, Alacant — Alicante Valencian Community which has hosted an annual parade since In Spain, children typically receive presents on this day, rather than on Christmas, though this tradition has changed lately, and children now receive presents on both days. Epiphany is a public holiday in Sweden , where it is known as "trettondedag jul" "Thirteenth Day Yule" , as January 6 is the thirteenth day after Christmas Eve, the main day on which Christmas is celebrated in Sweden.

    However, the end of the Christmas celebration is on January 13, St. In Louisiana , Epiphany is the beginning of the Carnival season, during which it is customary to bake King Cakes , similar to the Rosca mentioned above. It is round in shape, filled with cinnamon, glazed white, and coated in traditional carnival color sanding sugar. The person who finds the doll or bean must provide the next king cake. The interval between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is sometimes known as "king cake season", and many may be consumed during this period.

    The Carnival season begins on King's Day Epiphany , and there are many traditions associated with that day in Louisiana and along the Catholic coasts of Mississippi , Alabama , and Florida. King cakes are first sold then, Carnival krewes begin having their balls on that date, and the first New Orleans krewe parades in street cars that night.

    In Colonial Virginia , Epiphany, or 12th Night, was an occasion of great merriment, and was considered especially appropriate as a date for balls and dancing, as well as for weddings. On 12th Night, Great Cake was prepared, consisting in two giant layers of fruitcake, coated and filled with royal icing. Custom dictated that the youngest child present cut and serve the cake and whoever found the bean or prize in the Twelfth Night cake was crowned "King of the Bean" similar to the European king cake custom.

    Tarpon Springs, Florida is known for elaborate religious ceremonies related to the Greek Orthodox Church , the most notable being the Epiphany celebration. The Metropolitan of Atlanta usually presides over the blessings, sometimes joined by the Archbishop of America. The blessings conclude with the ceremonial throwing of a wooden cross into the city's Spring Bayou, and boys ages 16 to 18 diving in to retrieve it. Whoever recovers the cross is said to be blessed for a full year. Following the blessings, the celebration moves to the Sponge Docks where food and music are made part of the festivities.

    Fruitcakes are thrown, participants dress as kings, fools, etc. As with customs in other countries, the fruitcake toss is a sort of festive symbolic leave-taking of the Christmas holidays until next year, but with humorous twist, since fruitcake is considered with a certain degree of derision in most of the United States, and is the source of many jokes.

    On January 9, the Feast of the Epiphany has long been an important celebration in Wales, known there as Ystwyll. In Glamorganshire , a huge loaf or cake was prepared, which was then divided up into three parts to represent Christ , the Virgin Mary and the three Wise Men. A large company of neighbors was invited to be present at the dividing of the cake in which rings were concealed. Whoever discovered a ring in his piece of cake or bread was elected as King or Queen and presided over the day's festivities. January 6 was the old-calendar Christmas Day and many of the festivities connected with it lasted well over a century after the new calendar was introduced in Wales shares other Twelfth Night customs with its neighbor, England, including the yule log , and the wassail to wish farmers a good harvest in the coming year, but here the yule log's ashes were saved then buried along with the seeds planted in the ensuing spring to ensure a good harvest, while the wassail bowl was taken to the house of newlyweds or to a family which had recently come to live in the district and songs sung outside the house door.

    Those inside the house would recite or sing special verses, to be answered by the revelers outside. Another Welsh custom associated with Epiphany was the Hunting of the Wren. The bird would then be placed in a small, decorated cage and carried around from house to house and shown in exchange for money or gifts of food and drink.

    If a wren could not be found then a sparrow would have to undergo the ritual. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christian feast, public holiday in some countries. This article is about the Christian feast day. For other uses, see Epiphany. Tabor light and theoria. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

    January Learn how and when to remove this template message. This holiday, which falls on January 6th, is celebrated as the day when the three wise men, also called the three kings, first saw baby Jesus and gave him gifts. Union and Advertiser Co. The length of Christmastide or season is twelve days, lasting from the 25th of December to Epiphany. Epiphany Greek Epiphania , Theophania or Christophania , is a festival in commemoration of the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the world as the Son of God, and referring to the appearance of the star which announced our Saviour's birth to the Gentiles, and the visit of the Magi, or Wise Men of the East to the infant Jesus.

    This festival is held on the 6th of January invariably, consequently is not a moveable feast, though the length of Epiphany-tide depends upon the date of Easter. The Church of England. Retrieved December 15, The current pattern in the Anglican Church is to have an extended Epiphany season called Epiphanytide. This is why Nativity scenes are sometimes kept in churches throughout January. United Methodist Publishing House.

    The Young Churchman Co. No concerted action had been taken by the Church in Canada till the formation of this society but by the regular issuing of appeals from the Board of Management each year, at Ascensiontide for Domestic, and at Epiphanytide for Foreign Missions, a certain amount of interest in the great question of missions has been created.

    Archived from the original on November 27, Retrieved December 22, Retrieved November 26, Archived from the original on January 3, Retrieved January 2, We prefer, like good Anglicans, to go with the logic of the liturgy and regard January 5th as the Twelfth Day of Christmas and the night that ends that day as Twelfth Night. That does make Twelfth Night the Eve of the Epiphany, which means that, liturgically, a new feast has already begun.

    Heritage echoes down through Christmases: Chorus of cherished rituals arises from immigrants to the Carolinas. Christmas was a day to go to church — the simpler the service, the better, Todd says — and maybe have a quiet dinner with family. It was a slower time in the agricultural year, so there was an opportunity for some leisure. As long as you didn't overdo it. But even Scots-Irish Presbyterians had to have a little fun sometimes. The occasion to let go was Twelfth Night on Jan. The Diocese of Southwark. The Whole Earth Holiday Book.

    Twelfth Night saw people feasting and taking down Christmas decorations. The king cake is traditionally served in France and England on the Twelfth Night to commemorate the journey of the Magi to visit the Christ child. The Curious World of Christmas. The time-honoured epoch for taking down Christmas decorations from Church and house in Candlemas Day, February 2nd. Terribly withered they are by that time.

    Candlemas in old times represented the end of the Christmas holidays, which, when "fine old leisure" reigned, were far longer than they are now. As indicated in Herrick's poem, quoted above, in the mid seventeenth century Christmas decorations were expected to stay in place until Candlemas 2 February , and this remained the norm until the nineteenth century.

    Retrieved January 7, Retrieved April 9, Any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night January 5th should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down. Christian Classics Etheral Library. Retrieved January 21, This arrangement would be the most natural way of explaining the origin of January 6 as a festival of the Baptism of Jesus.

    It is hard to explain this as a world-wide imitation of the Basilides; it is quite easy to explain if the 48 49 -lection arrangement of Mark was used as a Calendar fairly widely at one time. Paulist Press , p.