The Feast of the Epiphany, which marks the end of the official 12-day Christmas period and kicks off the new season of Epiphany, is being celebrated all around the world on Tuesday, 6 January, 2015.
The Christian observance known by various other names such as Theophany, Three Kings Day and El Dia de los Tres Reyes, is a significant Christian celebration that marks the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the larger world.
The observance is embodied in the story found in the gospel of Matthew 2:1-12, which talks about "Magi" (wise men) from the east following a star to Jerusalem in search of the newly born "King of the Jews."
The three men ask the presiding king, Herod, if he knows about the newly born king. Harod then alerts all his priests to learn more about where and who this king is.
The three wise men – Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar – are soon informed by the priests about a prophecy that a Messiah would be born in Bethlehem after which Herod sends the Magi there saying: "Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, as that I too may go and worship him," says the Huffington Post.
The story ends with the three wise men ultimately finding Mary and her newly born son, Jesus, to whom they bow and worship. They also give him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Although many churches such as the Roman Catholic and Protestant focus on the story of Magi to celebrate the event, other Eastern Christians like the Greek Orthodox celebrate the baptism of Jesus on this occasion. They, therefore, consider the observance even more important than Christmas.
The Day is also associated with beliefs of many 'magical' or miraculous moments that are thought be linked to the day. Here are some of them as noted by the Irish Times:
- It is believed that at a specific moment during the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, all the water in the world is transformed into wine.
- Another belief applied more to the Christmas Eve is that some moment during the night, animals can talk.
- There is also a well-known story in Irish tradition called "The Wishing Hour", which is thought to be an instant during the night when wishes or crushes will be granted.