Saturday, January 5, 2013

Holy Days: Epiphany

Tonight marks 12th Night, or what is the last night of Christmastide, the Season of Christmas. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany, extending the Christmas season through the first Sunday after January 6th. It signifies three major manifestations of Christ's divinity. The first, which is traditionally associated with the actual Feast Day, is the visitation of the Magi. The other two events are the Baptism of Our Lord, celebrated the first Sunday after the Feast of the Epiphany (January 13th in 2013), and then Christ's first miracle at the Wedding in Cana. While Christmas marks the Feast of Jesus' Humanity, Epiphany completes the mystery of the Incarnation by celebrating His Divinity.

The Church's celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany began at some point in the 3rd Century in Egypt and has always held great significance in Eastern Christian churches. The main difference between different Church's celebration is what the Feast is commemorating and whether it is an 8 day (Octave) Feast) or just one day or, as in some Protestant backgrounds, a whole season.

"Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary." 
--Theme Song for the Feast of the Epiphany taken from the Lesson, Epiphany Mass

How we're planning to celebrate!

A lovely feast (maybe a little spicy food to celebrate the Magi coming from the East?)
a drink common to English tradition known as Lamb's Wool or Wassail. Here's a recipe I found : I've never made it before, so here's to hoping it comes out tasty!
And to finish off the meal, a King's Cake! King's Cakes are traditionally studded with "jewels" in the form of candies and nuts, and a bean (or 3) is hidden inside. Whoever gets the bean becomes the king or queen for the evening. I've made King's Cakes for several years now, and I always end up switching which recipe I follow.
Here are a few I found online if you're interested in making your own:
From Catholic Cuisine - this one has wonderful descriptions for traditions from different countries
From The Pioneer Woman - This one has the Episcopalian traditions included

We will also make a simple craft of a king's crown made from yellow construction paper with jewels and such glued on. Ours won't be this fancy, but if you want, here is a template to follow.
Another easy thing to do with your children is print out one of these coloring pages.

 Just as we added our Jesus figures to the creches on Christmas Eve, tomorrow we shall add our figurines of the Kings.

Lastly, I hope to start the tradition of blessing our home with chalk and holy water. In this blessing, chalk blessed by a priest is used to inscribe: 20 + C + M + B + 13 over the door lintels. The CMB stands for the first initial of each of the 3 Kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar as well as for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means "Christ, bless this home."
Here are a few versions of the blessing I found:
A Catholic Life
JOYFilled Family
Interrupting the Silence

Blessings on your family's Feast of the Epiphany! Does your family celebrate in a special way? Do you make a King's Cake? I'd love to hear about your traditions! Please feel free to share!

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This post Holy Days: Epiphany first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 5 January 2013


  1. ooo the Wassail sounds tasty, let me know how it comes out!

  2. Thanks for all this! I'm a Mennonite who's interested in observing the Liturgical Year, but have no tradition to draw upon. I LOVE learning about these kinds of traditions. I'm especially interested in the Lamb's Wool. Fantastic!

    1. You're welcome, Kathleen - although I've spent more than half my life in a traditional church background observing the Liturgical year, this is really the first year I can say we're truly celebrating many of the Feasts. Hooray for learning new things! Hope you and yours have a lovely Epiphany!


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