Saturday, January 5, 2013

Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings, Little Christmas

Image of Giotto's Adoration of the Magi obtained from NASA.
Why NASA? You can follow the link, of course,
but the comet in the picture provides something of a clue, yes?
All of these titles refer to the same event -- the visit of the Magi to the Holy Family. In some countries, the celebrations on Epiphany Eve are referred to as Twelfth Night. Yes, that's also the name of a Shakespeare play, written (according to Wikipedia) as a Twelfth Night celebration.

Liturgically, the Christmas season drags on until February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, but Three Kings Day marks the traditional end of the Christmas season. In other words, you can take down your decorations today -- but neither your spouse nor your neighbors can give you the stinkeye about leaving the decorations up even if you let them linger into February. It all depends on how much you like subsidizing the electric utility in your area.

In Latin America, Three Kings Day was traditionally the day on which gifts were given, just as the Magi brought their gifts to the Child. We'd ask our crack research staff about whether this is still the case... but they're still missing.

If you insist on something else to celebrate on January 6, Usual Suspects and Hallmark overrule and put Bean Day on Sunday instead of Saturday. Well, even the link that Brownielocks provided wasn't sure whether Bean Day should have been on the 5th or 6th.

We are more certain that Sunday will be Apple Tree Day and National Shortbread Day.

Harold Godwineson was crowned King Harold II of England on January 6, 1066. It didn't work out so well for him.

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