We all sang The Twelve Days of Christmas carol as children, but many people don’t know that the 12 days of Christmas mark the time beginning on Christmas Day and ending on January 6th, Epiphany. I want to share with you how our family celebrates Epiphany and why.
Epiphany is the day to celebrate the wise men arriving to visit Jesus. It is celebrated by Christians all around the world. Epiphany is sometimes called Twelfth Night or Three Kings Day. In Louisiana it marks the beginning of Carnival season.
Why does our family celebrate Epiphany?
I’ve noticed that people are decorating for Christmas earlier and earlier. It seems like most of my friends decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving this year, some of them as early as the day after Halloween. By the time Christmas Day rolls around their trees and wreaths are brittle, and they’re tired of all of the Christmas decor. One of my friends posted that she was taking all of her decorations down Christmas night! I always wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put my Christmas decor up because I know we’ll be leaving a lot of our decor up until Epiphany. But why?
One reason to celebrate Epiphany is that you’ll notice how you are able slow down and actually enjoy Christmas as a season, and not just one day. All of the shopping, baking, parties, and wrapping leads up to one climactic morning on Christmas. What a downer when December 26th comes around! If you continue to celebrate during the 12 days after Christmas you’ll notice that it is no longer about the presents, but more about presence. The time spent together as a family or with friends during these 12 days is the true spirit of Christmas.
Another reason to celebrate Epiphany is to keep Christ the focus of your holiday season. It’s another opportunity to read a scripture lesson and to celebrate finding a Savior, not receiving items from a Christmas list.
I also love participating in traditions. Traditions bring people together. They give us something to look forward to and memories to look back upon. Traditions connect generations and give us something in common.
How does our family celebrate Epiphany?
We celebrate Epiphany very, very simply at our house. First, we share a King Cake. We buy our King Cake from Publix, but it would be a snap to make one. A King Cake is used all around the world. Inside the King Cake a tiny baby figurine (the baby Jesus) is hidden. In some countries whoever finds the baby Jesus in the cake hosts the party the next year. In the U.S. tradition says you will be the person to bring the King Cake the next year.
We also celebrate Epiphany with Christmas crackers. (Since Epiphany is technically after Christmas, you can usually find them on clearance.) Most Christmas crackers have a crown inside them to symbolize a king or wise man. They usually have jokes inside them, too. Christmas crackers are just something fun to sit around the dinner table and do together.
Lastly we read the passage from the Bible that tells the story of the wise men finding Jesus. You can find this in Matthew 2:1-12.
I hope this post will inspire you to celebrate Epiphany with your friends and family! Let me know in the comments below if you have special Epiphany traditions. I’d love to hear them!