History of 3 Kings Day – Epiphany
Ruth M. Reichmann
Lovers of carols and Christmas parties know that this season has 12 days, packed with golden rings, calling birds and various kinds of gentry, musicians and domestic workers. December 25 is Christmas – and 25 minus 12 does equal 13. Do the math and you will see why shopping malls, newspapers, television networks, and other cultural fortresses annually deliver some kind of “Twelve Days of Christmas” blitz, beginning on December 13.
Problem is that for centuries church calendars in the East and the West have agreed that there are twelve days of Christmas and they begin on Christmas Day and end on January 6.
The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany also called “The Adoration of the Magi” or “The Manifestation of God.” Celebrated on January 6, it is known as the day of the Three Kings (or wise men/magi): Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. According to an old legend based on a Bible story, these three kings saw, on the night when Christ was born, a bright star, followed it to Bethlehem and found there the Christchild and presented it with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
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