With Christmas and New Yearвs over, you might find yourself in a post-holiday slump that you canвt get out of. There are always those New Yearвs resolutions to work on, but that only further solidifies the fact that the holiday merriment is in the past. Though for many in Latin America and the rest of the world, the Christmas season is just now hitting its peakвwith the Epiphany or Three Kingsв Day (
El DГa de los Reyes ) on January 6. And even if this celebration for you is ingrained as a yearly family tradition, here are some fun facts and surprising history that you might not have known about. The Twelfth Day of Christmas Has Arrived Thereвs a reason you might have heard the 12 Days of Christmas song during the month of December on repeatвthe Christmas holiday culminates on January 6 with the, the day when the three kingsвGaspar, Melchior, and Balthasarвfinally finished their long journey to Bethlehem.
Called the Epiphany, it comes from the Greek word for manifestationвseeing God in human form for the first time. From gift giving to feasts, Christianity has always celebrated many different holidays in different forms. However, there is one holiday that tends to stand out from the rest. That holiday is Three Kings Day. So follow us on our ship into the past as we learn about Three Kings Day. The history of Three Kings Day Also known as Epiphany or Theophany, Three Kings Day is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ.
The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches and was a general celebration of the manifestation of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. It included the commemoration of his birth; the visit of the Magi, all of JesusБ childhood events, his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist, and even the miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee. It seems fairly clear that the Baptism was the primary event being commemorated. The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A. D. 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus.
St. Epiphanius says that Epiphany(Three Kings Day) is hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion, which translates to БChristБs Birthday; that is, His EpiphanyБ He also asserts that the Miracle of Cana occurred on the same calendar day. In a sermon delivered on December 25th 380 A. D. , St. Gregory of Nazianzus referred to the day as ta theophania( the Theophany, an alternative name for Epiphany). He said that it is a day commemorating the holy nativity of Christ and told his listeners that they would soon be celebrating the baptism of Christ. Then, on Three Kings Day, he preached two more sermons, where he declared that the celebration of the birth of Christ and the visitation of the Magi had taken place and that they would now commemorate his Baptism.
At this time, the celebration of the two events was being observed on separate occasions. St. John Cassian said that even in his time (the beginning of the 5th century), the Egyptian monasteries celebrated the Nativity and Baptism together on January 6th. The Armenian Apostolic Church continues to celebrate Three Kings Day as the only commemoration of the Nativity. How to celebrate Three Kings Day To celebrate, all that we really have to do is prepare a large meal for our family and friends, invite them over, and enjoy the day that is in fact Three Kings Day.