Epiphany – Sunday January 6

          Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas, falls on January 6th and marks the official end to the festive season for many Christians.  The Twelfth Night (Epiphany) also marks a visit to the baby Jesus by three Kings, or Wise Men. The word ‘Epiphany’ comes from Greek and means to show, referring to Jesus being revealed to the world.   In the West, Christians began celebrating the Epiphany in the 4th century, associating it with the visit of the Wise Men to Jesus.
          According to the Gospel of Matthew, the men found Jesus by following a star across the desert to Bethlehem.The three men – named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar – followed the star of Bethlehem to meet the baby Jesus. According to Matthew 2:11, they offered symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  The gifts were symbolic of the importance of Jesus’ birth, the gold representing his royal standing; frankincense his divine birth; and myrrh his mortality.During the medieval period, Christmas was celebrated for the 12 days from Christmas Eve on December 24, until the Epiphany. Even up until the 19th century, January 6th was as big a celebration as Christmas Day.