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The feast of Epiphany, also known as the Three Kings’ Day, is an annual Christian festival commemorating the visit of the magi or wise men from the east to baby Jesus and his baptism at the Jordan River. It falls on the 6th day of January, twelve days after Christmas.
See the fact file below for more information about the feast of Epiphany or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
- The word Epiphany comes from the Greek term “epiphainein”, which means manifestation or revelation. Eastern Christians also call it Theophany, which means a manifestation of God.
- According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, Epiphany serves as the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah or Saviour of the World. The magi’s visit to Jerusalem was to pay homage to the King of the Jews and they were guided by the star of Bethlehem.
- The Bible contains no record of the origins of the three kings. It was believed that they were kings from Yemen since it was ruled by Jews. The term magi comes from the old Persian word “magupati”, which refers to the title given to priests of the ancient religion, Zoroastrianism. They were men of great knowledge.
- Legends designated names for the magis. First, Gaspar, the King of Sheba who wore a green cloak and crown with green jewels. He brought frankincense to Jesus. Second, Melchior, the one with long, white hair who wore a gold cloak. He was the King of Arabia who brought gold to Jesus. Third, Balthazar, the King of Tars and Egypt who wore a black cloak, brought the gift of myrrh.
- Since the end of the second century, Epiphany was celebrated even prior to the establishment of the Christmas holiday.
- It is mainly celebrated by Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
- In Spain, the Festival of the Three Kings also known as ‘Fiesta de los Tres Reyes Mages’ is one of the important festivals for Catholic children. This is a time for them to receive gifts. In addition, local bakers make a special pastry called roscon. It is a ring-shaped roll filled with cream or chocolate and decorated with paper crowns.
- In Mexico, Epiphany is known as the day of the Three Kings or El Dia de los Reyes. Mexicans used to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special cake with a hidden figure of baby Jesus inside. Whoever finds the figure inside will be the godparent of Jesus that year.
- Carol singing known as Janeiras (January song) is a tradition in Portugal. In addition, Belgian children do door-to-door singing while wearing costumes like the three kings.
- In Ireland, Epiphany becomes the Women’s Christmas or Nollaig na mBan in which women get the day off while men do all the work. While in the Philippines, it is known as Christmas of the Elderly.
- The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist at the Jordan River is also celebrated during the eighth day of Epiphany.
- John the Baptist was Jesus’ second cousin because Mary was Elizabeth’s first cousin (mother of John).
- The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches focus on the visitation of the three kings while the Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates Jesus’ baptism.
- Some churches also include the miracles at the wedding at Cana as part of the celebration.
- During Epiphany, thousands of pilgrims visit the Al-Maghtas. It is the officially recognized baptism site on the east bank of the Jordan River.
- Liturgical practices such as forefeast, the Eve of the Feast known as Paramony, the blessing of water, house blessings, and after feast are observed in the Eastern churches.
The Feast Of Epiphany Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use The Feast Of Epiphany Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about The feast of Epiphany, also known as the Three Kings’ Day, which is an annual Christian festival commemorating the visit of the magi or wise men from the east to baby Jesus and his baptism at the Jordan River.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Epiphany Facts
- Who are the Magi?
- Open the Presents
- Epiphany Around the World
- Baptism of Jesus
- Symbols and Meanings
- Epiphany Traditions
- Christian Denominations
- Three: Crowns and Virtues
- Let’s Celebrate!
- Prayer on Epiphany
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Feast of the Three Kings?
The Feast of the Three Kings, also known as the Epiphany, is a Christian holiday that is celebrated on January 6th. It commemorates the visit of the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, as described in the Bible in the Gospel of Matthew.
Why is it called the Feast of the Three Kings?
It is called the Feast of the Three Kings because it commemorates the visit of the Magi, who were believed to be kings, to the baby Jesus. These kings brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus, which are said to symbolize Jesus’ royalty, divinity, and death.
How is the Feast of the Three Kings celebrated?
The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated in different ways around the world. Some common traditions include:
- Processions, where people dress up as the Three Wise Men and carry statues of them through the streets
- Giving of gifts, particularly to children
- Special church services
- Eating of special foods, such as Rosca de Reyes (Kings’ Cake)
Is the Feast of the Three Kings celebrated in all Christian denominations?
The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated primarily by the Catholic and Orthodox Church, but it is also recognized by some protestant denominations.
What is the significance of the Feast of the Three Kings?
The Feast of the Three Kings marks the end of the Christmas season and is a celebration of the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the Gentiles, symbolized by the visit of the Magi. It also marks the end of the liturgical season of Christmas and the start of Epiphany season. Additionally, the Feast of the Three Kings also symbolizes the universality of Jesus’ message, as the Magi came from different countries, and it serves as a reminder that Jesus is for all people, not just for the Jewish people.
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