Three wise men visit Jesus
Photo © Vanessa Fitzgerald at SXC
An epiphany is described as a new insight or “an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking…an illuminating discovery….” The Epiphany is a day or time of celebration for many Christian religions because it is the time that Jesus was revealed or shown to the world.
On the day Jesus was born, not many throughout the lands knew of this glorious event. Wise men, shepherds, and others came from faraway lands to worship the baby Jesus. It took many days of travel for them to arrive at Jesus’ birthplace. Traveling during this period was slow and done by riding donkeys, camels, or walking.
There were several wise men that had been sent by King Herod to find the newborn baby Jesus. The wise men “Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (St. Matthew 2:9-11)
In some religions and some countries, Epiphany is a day of celebration and is held on January 6th which is the twelfth day after Christmas. The focus is on the actual mission of Jesus’ arrival on earth which is one of peace and salvation for all people. Jesus offered salvation to all on earth. It was and still is up to each individual to choose the direction for his or her own life. In the end, each will be held accountable for his or her choice.
Some countries in South America as well as in Europe call Epiphany day the Three Kings Day or Kings Day. The name comes from the three kings or wise men sent by Herod to locate the baby Jesus.
In some religions and some countries, the twelve day period from the birth of Jesus to His revelation is considered a time for the celebration called the Epiphany. The period lasts from the birth of Jesus on December 25th through the day Jesus was revealed on January 6th. The entire period is a time for celebration in various ways.
Throughout the world, Epiphany Day is held mainly on January 6th of the New Year. In some cultures and religions, it is held on a different day. Throughout the world, different countries celebrate Epiphany Day in various ways. In some cultures and religions, there is baking or partying. No matter what culture, country or religion, the reason to celebrate the Epiphany remains the same: The celebration of Jesus’ revelation to the people of this world.
Epiphany is not a floating holiday, and always falls on January 6 each year.
St. Matthew 2:9-11. The Holy Bible. Douay-Rheims Version, Revised by the Servant of God, Bishop Richard Challoner, A.D. 1749-1752, published with the imprimatur of His Eminence James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, September 1, 1899. Baronius Press Limited, 2007.