Annie's Epiphany Page
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold,
there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King
of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
Epiphany in Greek means "manifestation".
Encyclopedia.com defines EPIPHANY
"Epiphany [Gr., (= (showing], a prime Christian feast, celebrated Jan. 6; also called Twelfth Day or Little Christmas. It commemorates the baptism of Jesus, the visit of the Wise Men to Bethlehem, and the miracle of Cana. Its eve is Twelfth Night."
Epiphany is in the month of January
January 5th is Twelfth Night. Evening before Epiphany. Marks end of the 12-day season of Christmas festivities.
January 6th is Twelfth Day. The 12th day after Christmas, when the three Wise Men visited Jesus. Observed as Christmas in Spain and as Befana Day in Italy. Also called Epiphany and Three Kings Day.
January 7th is the Orthodox Christmas Day.
January 9th is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord celebrated by the Catholic Church
Here is what The World Book Encyclopedia says about Epiphany:
"Epiphany, pronounced ih PIHF uh nee, is a Christian festival. In Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, Epiphany commemorates the adoration of the infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men who had come from the East. In Eastern churches, it celebrates the baptism of Jesus. Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means to appear or to show oneself."
Most Christians celebrate Epiphany on January 6, the 12th day after Christmas. Roman Catholics in the United States observe the festival on any Sunday from January 2 through January 8. During Epiphany in Western churches, Biblical texts are read in church that describe the various appearances of Jesus. The festival commemorates the visit of the wise men from the East to the infant Jesus. Epiphany, a Christian holiday, observes the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, 12 days after Christmas. In Eastern churches, the major observance is the blessing of baptismal water. Some Eastern Christians observe this date as Christmas, and Epiphany on January 19th.
From Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia
"EPIPHANY (Gr. epiphaneia, "appearance"), feast celebrated on January 6 by the Anglican, Eastern, and Roman Catholic churches. The feast originated, and is still recognized in the Eastern Church, as the anniversary of the baptism of Christ. In the Western churches, Epiphany commemorates principally the revelation to the Gentiles of Jesus Christ as the Savior, as portrayed by the coming of the Three Wise Men (see Matt. 2:1-12). In both the Eastern and Western churches the feast secondarily commemorates the marriage at Cana (see John 2:1-11), at which Christ performed his first miracle. Epiphany, known to have been observed earlier than AD 194, is older than Christmas and has always been a festival of the highest rank. The eve of Epiphany is called Twelfth Night, and the day itself is sometimes referred to as Twelfth Day. In England, the sovereign commemorates the day by offering gold, frankincense, and myrrh at the altar in the Chapel Royal, at Saint James's Palace. In the Eastern church, at Epiphany, the holy water is blessed, a ritual customarily taking place on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter) in the Roman Catholic church."
Definition of Epiphany from Compton's Encyclopedia:
Epiphany (from Greek epiphaneia, "appearance"), Christian festival celebrated on January 6; one of the three principal and oldest festival days of Christianity (including Easter and Christmas); commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi, and the manifestation of his divinity, as it occurred at his baptism in the Jordan River and at his first miracle at Cana in Galilee; festival originated in the Eastern Church; in the Western Church the festival primarily commemorates the visit by the Magi to the infant Jesus; in the East it primarily commemorates the baptism of Jesus
From MSN Encarta Online:
"Epiphany, feast celebrated on January 6 by the Anglican, Eastern, and Roman Catholic
churches. The feast originated in the Eastern Church where it is still recognized as the
anniversary of the baptism of Jesus Christ. In the Western churches, Epiphany
principally commemorates the revelation to the Gentiles of Jesus Christ
as the Savior, as portrayed by the coming of the Three Wise Men."
For more information about this visit: Annie's Wisemen Page
What is the difference between the Western & Eastern Church?
Ken Collins defines it this way: "Roughly speaking, the western Church consists of Protestants, Catholics, and Anglicans. The eastern Church consists of the Orthodox churches, the Oriental churches, and the eastern-rite churches affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church."
The Christmas season ends on Epiphany, January 6. In Western Christian churches, Epiphany celebrates the coming of the Wise Men to the Christ child. Among Eastern Christians, this day celebrates Jesus' baptism. Epiphany falls on the 12th day after Christmas. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" refers to the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany.
Christmas & Epiphany Gift Giving Practices Around the World
from The World Book Encyclopedia & Comptons Encyclopedia
Puerto Ricans now celebrate such American holidays as July 4 and Memorial Day. Traditionally Christmas was celebrated on Three Kings Day (Epiphany, January 6). Since shops and television programs announce the arrival of Santa Claus on December 25, however, both days are celebrated.
In Ethiopia, members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church hold religious services on Christmas, January 7. The major celebration takes place nearly two weeks later at Epiphany.
|Food for camels
instead of cookies for Santa:
Youngsters in many Spanish-speaking nations have a similar custom. However, they leave the food for the camels of the Wise Men and put the shoes outside a window on the eve of Epiphany. The Magi place small gifts in the shoes during the night. The custom of hanging stockings by the fireplace probably developed from those traditions.
According to legend, the Wise Men asked the kindly old witch to accompany them to see the infant Jesus. She refused, saying she was too busy and had to clean her house, and so she missed the wondrous sight. Each year, La Befana goes from house to house, leaving gifts and looking for the Christ child.
Traditionally, in some countries, such as Italy and Spain, children do not receive gifts until January 5, the eve of Epiphany. In Spain, children leave their shoes outside filled with straw and barley for the magi's animals and hope that presents will be left by the wise man Balthazar.
As in the rest of Spain, most of the people are Roman Catholic, and the major city festivals celebrate saints' days. Twelve days after Christmas, on the feast of the Epiphany (the day the three wise men are said to have reached Bethlehem), a boat comes into the harbor bearing "three kings" who then parade through the streets.
In Italy, La Befana brings presents on the eve of Epiphany.
In Italy, most homes and churches have a presepio (Nativity scene). On Christmas Eve, the family prays while the mother places a figure of the Bambino (Christ child) in the manger. Many Italians serve eels for dinner on Christmas Eve. They also bake a Christmas bread called panettone, which contains raisins and candied fruit. Italian children receive gifts from La Befana, a kindly old witch, on the eve of Epiphany.
Traditionally, in some countries, such as Italy and Spain, children do not receive gifts until January 5, the eve of Epiphany. According to Italian folklore, an old woman named Befana goes down chimneys and delivers presents to children on that night, just as the three wise men brought gifts to the infant Jesus.
Here is what the Compton's Encyclopedia says about the MAGI:
Magi (plural of magus), from Persian magu, meaning magician; members of a priestly caste of ancient Medes and Persians; name is applied also to the wise men in the Bible (Matthew ii) who followed a star to Bethlehem; the Bible story does not name them nor give their number, but Christian tradition from about the 7th century names the three Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar; their bodies are said to have been brought to Constantinople by Empress Helen, mother of Constantine, thence taken to Milan, and finally to Cologne in 1162 by Frederick Barbarossa; since that time they have often been called the Three Kings of Cologne
What does the Bible say about the
Magi or Wise Men?
I went to the Bible Study Tools site do do a search on "Magi" in the King James Bible and there were no verses listed. But I found 2 Study Tools entries.
One from Nave's Topical Bible entry for "Magi" and found this:
The wise men from the east who visited Jesus as an infant Matthew 2:1-12
Smith's Bible Dictionary has a full page of
information about the "Magi".
So then I tried "wise men" and found 44 verses.
Nave's Topical Bible says this about the "Wise Men"
Resource pages to see: Easton's Bible Dictionary has a page about Wise men
Smith's Bible Dictionary has a page about Wise men & Star of the wise men
When is the REAL birthday of Jesus? Below is what the Compton's Encyclopedia says:
"Because there was no knowledge about the date of Jesus' birth, a day had to be selected. The Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Rite churches within the Roman Catholic church chose January 6. The day was named Epiphany, meaning "appearance," the day of Jesus' manifestation. The Western church, based in Rome, chose December 25. It is known from a notice in an ancient Roman almanac that Christmas was celebrated on December 25 in Rome as early as AD 336.
In the latter half of the 4th century, the Eastern and Western churches adopted each other's festivals, thus establishing the modern Christian 12-day celebration from Christmas to Epiphany. In some places the 12th day is called the festival of the three kings because it is believed that the three wise men, or magi, visited the infant Jesus on that day, bringing Him gifts."
For more information about this visit: Annie's Christmas History Page
Information about the Manger or Creche from Compton's Encyclopedia:
Manger scenes. A custom that originated in Southern Europe is the manger scene, often referred to by its French name, creche. This is a small model of the stable where Jesus was born, containing figures of Mary, Joseph, the Infant, shepherds, farm animals, and the three wise men and their gifts. Sometimes the wise men figurines are put off to the side and moved a bit closer each day after Christmas until they arrive at the scene on Epiphany.
The custom of recreating the Holy Night is said to have been started by St. Francis of Assisi. On a Christmas Eve in 1224 he is supposed to have set up a stable in a corner of a church in his native village with real persons and animals to represent those of the first Christmas.
Did you know that the Three Wisemen were not at the manger with the shephards?
For more information about this visit: Annie's Wisemen Page
Miriam Webster Dictionary Listing for Epiphany:
Main Entry: epiph·a·ny
Inflected Form(s): plural -nies
Etymology: Middle English epiphanie, from Middle French, from Late Latin epiphania, from Late Greek, plural, probably alteration of Greek epiphaneia appearance, manifestation, from epiphainein to manifest, from epi- + phainein to show -- more at FANCY (N)
Date: 14th century
1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery b : a revealing scene or moment.
Fine Arts Links
"The Adoration of
the Magi" - by Fra Angelico Also
known as Giovanni da
Related Artwork Links: With
the word "Baptism" in the Title.
Bordone, Paris - The Baptism of
Christ, c. 1535/1540, oil on
Related Artwork Links: With
the word "Cana" in the Title.
15th Century - A Lectern Cloth
with the Marriage at Cana, c.
Epiphany is also a Literary Device.
Here is what The World Book Encyclopedia says about this use of the word:
"Short-story writers have developed a number of literary techniques, including the surprise ending and epiphany. Most surprise endings involve an unexpected event or a revealing explanation. Such endings were the specialty of O. Henry, an American short-story writer of the late 1800's and early 1900's. He used surprise endings in "The Furnished Room" (1904), "The Gift of the Magi" (1905), and many other tales. Epiphany is a sudden comment, incident, or symbol that can be used at any point in a story to explain the meaning of a complex event. James Joyce, an Irish author of the early 1900's, created this technique. He included it in a collection of short stories called Dubliners (1914)."
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