|Celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor|
|Friday, 03 January 2014 08:48|
Most Christmas trees are put away, the twinkling lights darkened for another year, and thus more and more Americans have lost site of an official church Christmas season.
In many religious denominations the Christmas season continues until Epiphany, which is Jan. 6. However, many churches observe the holiday on the nearest Sunday, which this year is this weekend.
What is Epiphany?
While most people have heard the song, "The 12 days of Christmas," many do no make the connection and realize the 12 days refers to the days following Christmas until the Epiphany. The word epiphany means manifestation or revelation and is closely tied to the birth of Jesus and thus, Christmas.
While the Christian feast day includes various themes, one is the visit of the Magi, the Three Wise Men (Kings), to the Baby Jesus bearing gifts.
Thus gifts are given from the celebration of Christ's birth until the celebration of the gold, frankincense and myrrh given by the three kings.
In several Latin American countries Christmas is customarily celebrated on Epiphany. There are many other cultural and religious traditions associated with Epiphany, depending on the country and the backgrounds. One Greek Orthodox tradition involves diving for a cross in nearby waters.
So it is appropriate to wish Merry Christmas or Happy Epiphany.
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