Epiphany is coming up on January 6th. This holiday is largely celebrated within the Catholic church. It isn’t as familiar outside the Catholic faith.
Growing up in a Protestant church, Epiphany was not observed. I actually didn’t become aware of the tradition until I was in college. However, my husband grew up Catholic.
Celebrating Epiphany is a fun way our family has been able to blend our cultures and traditions.
Maybe you’re in a similar situation. And, you are looking for a way to blend your family traditions. Maybe you are just a curious mind wanting to learn about this wonderful tradition.
Let me invite you to learn about and celebrate Epiphany.
What is Epiphany?
Epiphany is also known as Three Kings Day or Dia de los Reyes Magos. It is the celebration of the wise men visiting baby Jesus. Generally, people celebrate Jesus’s birth on December 25th.
However, many believed that the wise men actually arrived in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler. Therefore, the King’s arrival is on January 6th, and the twelve days in between are the twelve days of Christmas.
The Celebration of Epiphany
Epiphany celebrations vary around the world.
In Spain, families gather to watch colorful parades that represent the journey the wise men took to find Baby Jesus.
In many Latin American countries, children awake to presents left for them by the three kings. They may even leave straw in their shoes the night before from the kings’ elephant, horse, and camel.
In Mexico, people commemorate this day by eating a Rosca de Reyes. It is a sweet bread with a figurine of baby Jesus hiding inside. Whoever finds Baby Jesus in their piece of rosca is then responsible to bring tamales to Dia de Candelaria.
Dia de Candelaria is the day celebration when people presented Jesus in the temple.
Eastern Orthodoxy uses the Julian calendar, which observes the birth of Christ on January 6th and 7th. In Eastern Orthodoxy, Epiphany is on January 19th.
In many Eastern European countries, such as Russia and Bulgaria, the day celebration involves taking a plunge into icy cold lakes and rivers.
Some believe that water blessed by a priest on the day of Epiphany is pure and has healing powers. However, some simply believe that the polar plunge is good for health.
In our Mexican-American family, we simply celebrate this day by “the kings” leaving small toys and candies in our children’s shoes. In the evening we get together with family to share a Rosca de Reyes.
What are your family’s Epiphany Traditions?
If you want to read more about the celebration of epiphany you can read about its celebration in France here.