Epiphany Holidays 2022 And History

What is Epiphany?

This is also known as the Three King’s Day in Poland. It was originally not celebrated during the Communist regime but was later restored as a public holiday in 2011. Since Epiphany is celebrated right after Christmas, this is why its importance fades away in comparison to Christmas and Easter. Epiphany is always celebrated on 6th of January in the memory of infant Jesus being presented before the Magi or the three wise men. Thus, the name the ‘Three Kings Day’ came to be known. This is a family-oriented festival and a bank holiday.  Share the Ideas Of this public holidays on WorldNoor.

History of the Epiphany

The three wise men undertook a journey from the East and they found the barn where the baby was present. Each person paid homage to the child and brought a gift. This included myrrh, frankincense and gold. These are still part of the Roman Catholic Church. Very literally this event is considered an epiphany for the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. This is a very joyous occasion for Christians especially children. There are also conflicting views over how many people were among the wise men. It is not clearly mentioned in the bible only that there were gifts and that the men came from the East. 

According to a consensus it is confirmed that there were between 2 to 20 wise men and they may have been Zoroastrian Priests. It was later that the number 3 was chosen due to the 3 gifts present. Furthermore, things were made more complex when it was still not confirmed what the term Magi actually referred to. It certainly did not indicate the gender or level of wisdom of these men. This was through the 2004 report of the general synod of the church of England. 

Biblical Drawback:

However, this biblical drawback did not stop believers from christening and categorizing the Magi. The three kings were given an identity and name. They are Melchiar, Casper and Balthazar who rightfully represented Europe, Arabia and Africa according to the sequence. The etymology of the word epiphany is from a Greek term known as ‘epiphaneia’ that literally means manifestation.

It is the appearance of an invisible divine being in its most visible or apparent form. There is a religious connotation to it. Therefore, Epiphany celebration began in Eastern Church where Christ’s birth was commemorated. It was later on due to the 4th century AD calendar reforms that Christ’s birth was shifted to 25th December. Thereafter the Church in Rome began to celebrate Epiphany on every January 6th. The Armenian Orthrodox Christians did not alter their original celebration of Christ’s birth on January 6th. This is because before Rome could change the date, the church for these christians had already been established. 

Traditions and Processions

There are many beliefs relating to the Three Kings Day. On its eve children pick out grass and put it in a shoebox under their bed. They then go to sleep hoping that the vegetation would be replaced by presents. The next morning you can observe the signs of the Wise Men arriving on their camels at night to deliver the gifts. This is through the grass which is strewn all over on the floor. On the 6th of January due to many parades there will be traffic congestions in the Polish city. The first ever parade here was held in 2009. It is a ceremonial procession deriving from nativity plays and caroling. It has its origins in similar parades that are held in Spain and Mexico. Participants walk through the streets of the towns and villages behind the Star of Bethlehem.

The people in this parade receive paper crowns of vibrant colors and sing Christmas carols as they roam around. It is seen as a continuation of the nativity play in one of Warsaw’s schools. Through this people recreate the scenario when the Magi visited Jesus in a very magnificent act. The actors playing the Magi arrive on camels or horses and hand over the sweets to young children. This fairytale procession is accompanied by Carol singers called kolędnicy. This is performed by young men who used to go door to door to entertain people in exchange for money, refreshments or a meal. These singers usually adorn the attire of goats, horses, shepherds or even Death and carry a colorful star. 

The Custom Of House-Visiting:

However, as the custom of house-visiting is fading gradually, the carol singers immerse themselves completely in Epiphany celebrations. On 6th January Catholics also bring a piece of the blessed chalk home from church to mark their doors. These are the letters C, M, B  for the initials of the three kings – Casper,  Melchior and Balthasar – on the front doors.

This is also an acronym for the Latin phrase: May Christ bless this house. These letters are followed by the current year. The three Kings arrive at the stable with the parade following. Everyone present will then bow down before Jesus and the Holy Family. Furthermore, Epiphany has been cast as a bank holiday since 2011. With the exception of bars and restaurants every other place is closed. This is because Polish people love to eat out in groups of friends and family while celebrating. Other places like colleges, offices, fast-food chains and shopping centers are closed.  

Epiphany Festival around the globe

Epiphany was abolished as an official church festival in 1990 by Denmark. It is the previous evening known as the Twelfth Night which is celebrated by burning a special candle with 3 wicks. The lighting out of the candles is symbolic of Christmas ending. In France, Epiphany is not considered as a public holiday so the celebrations are held on the first weekend of January. People in France have followed the ritual of eating the cake called La galette des Rois since the 14th century. The cake must be divided in such a manner that each guest receives a piece and also an extra piece. This is known as part du Bon Dieu/ Vierge/Pauvre (Good Lord/Virgin/Poor) which is given to any stranger that might come.