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elbanditoroso's avatar

Epiphany is this week (january 6) - how is it celebrated?

Asked by elbanditoroso (29128points) 2 weeks ago

I’m not christian, but I’m nevertheless curious about the holiday. I more-or-less understand what it’s commemorating.

- is it more of a Catholic celebration, or do most/all other Christian variants celebrate it?

- I see that it’s considered a ‘festival’ – do you celebrate it by special meals? Additional prayers?

- Is this considered a major holiday, like Easter?

- Is this called for in the New Testament (like Sukkot is called for in the Old testament), or is this an outgrowth of traditional practice?

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17 Answers

jca2's avatar

Epiphany, Three Kings Day, Little Christmas.

I’m Christian, but as there are many different types of Christians, we never did anything special for the day. I know some Puerto Ricans that celebrate it (Three Kings Day) as a reason to eat.

Here’s more details:

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I go to the Episcopal Church. Epiphany is celebrated with a mass on that day. It marks the end of 12 days of Christmas.

Demosthenes's avatar

In the Catholic church, Epiphany is a solemnity, which is a type of feast day (a high-ranking one, in this case commemorating the revelation of Jesus as the son of God). It’s celebrated with a mass on the Sunday between the 2nd and 8th of January. That is really all I ever did to observe it being raised in the Catholic church. In some cultures, more is done to celebrate it: in Italy, for example, Epiphany eve is when La Befana (a Santa-like figure) delivers gifts to children; in some Eastern churches, it’s celebrated with a public procession.

Jeruba's avatar

For me, it’s just part of the lore and tradition, like Advent: something that makes up the larger Christmas package, but not something I pay separate, special attention to.

It’s known as “Old Christmas” in whatever lexicon I inherited, and for me personally, it’s the day by which I have to take the Christmas tree down, putting it away with all the trappings and traditions and memories. I never do it before New Year’s, but sometimes it’s before Old Christmas. I planned to do it yesterday, in fact, but circumstances intervened.

And no, Christmas is not in the Bible.

Lightlyseared's avatar

You take the Christmas tree down.

janbb's avatar

This year I fear it will be celebrated by total chaos in Congress.

Jeruba's avatar

@janbb, let’s pray for an epiphany.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Or at least a feast?

Demosthenes's avatar

@Jeruba Christmas is not in the Bible.

True. The New Testament doesn’t establish any holidays or celebrations like the Old Testament does, part of which is concerned with establishing the rituals, protocols, and cultural practices of the Israelites. The New Testament message is more “universal” and focused on theology rather than on specific cultural practice.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

January 6th 2021 Washington DC could be under fire by Trump’s Proud Boys and several other right wing extremist groups.

Jeruba's avatar

@Demosthenes, it does, however, mention Passover, which is what Jesus was celebrating with his disciples in the event called “the Last Supper” or “the Lord’s Supper,” the conclusion of which was the betrayal and arrest of Jesus leading to the crucifixion (and hence Good Friday and Easter). Or so go the scriptures. The Gospel accounts laid down the practice later adopted as the rite of Communion. On that occasion, one observance was recognized and others originated.

zenvelo's avatar

In France, people eat a Galette du Rois (King’s cake). A bean is baked into a cake, and whoever finds it in their piece is king for the day.

I went to a Catholic school run by a French order of nuns in first and second grade. On Epiphany, we had a king’s cake served to everyone in the school; the person who found a bean could declare “extra recess” or a fun movie, or no homework for a day.

In my family, we take down the tree and the creche after dinner on the 6th. The Wise Men have arrived, gifts have been given to the baby Jesus, and the Holy Family has escaped into Egypt.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@zenvelo that sounds like a great way to celebrate!

JLeslie's avatar

My husband grew up with Three Kings being the really big gift day. They exchanged gifts Christmas Eve and received Santa gifts on the 25th, but Three Kings was really good. This was in Mexico, and the family is Catholic.

This year, according to a relative I just spoke to, I shouldn’t go outside on the 6th because crazies in my country who are upset about the election will be out kidnapping people and killing them if the powers at be don’t comply with their demands to make Trump the winner.

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