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Wednesday, 7 January 2015


The Feast of Epiphany celebrates the revelation of the Christ child to the Gentiles, when the Magi or wise men visited Bethlehem to see Jesus, by following a star. It is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2. The holiday is celebrated by Christians twelve days after Christmas on January 6.

The Magi is a general term for astrologers, seers, and fortune tellers. In their sole appearance in the Gospel of Matthew, they are never named, and hail from "the east."

Matthew does not say there were only three wise men. We assume that they were a trio because of the three gifts that were given: gold, incense, and myrrh.

Adoration of the Magi by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 17th century

The idea of Twelfth Night dates back to the Council of Tours in 567 where it was decided that the period from Christmas to Epiphany should be celebrated as Christmastide.

Epiphany is also known as Twelfth Day, and Twelfth Night precedes Twelfth Day and begins on the evening of January 5.

Views differ as to whether the first day of Christmas is December 25 or 26. In Sweden, Christmas is day 1 so The Feast of Epiphany is the 13th Day. It is known as "trettondag" (thirteenth day).

Eastern Churches following the Julian Calendar observe the feast on what for most countries is January 19th because of the 13-day difference today between that calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar.

The British used to celebrate Twelfth Night with a drink called Lamb’s Wool made from roasted apples, sugar and nutmeg in beer.

The actor, cook and valet Richard Baddeley left £100 to provide the income for a cake to be eaten on Twelfth Night by Drury Lane actors.

Harold II, who was killed at the Battle of Hastings, was crowned on January 6, 1066.

Henry VIII (to Anne of Cleves), George Washington and George H.W. Bush the elder all celebrated the Feast of Epiphany by getting married on that day, in 1540, 1759 and 1945.

Traditionally, Christmas decorations are taken down on Twelfth Night.

The Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday.

Source Daily Express

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