The Epiphany has lots of traditions

You can treat the Epiphany as a final celebration of Christmas

Christmas is nearly over as the New Year begins. Itís natural to feel unenthusiastic about returning to school after two long weeks off. But the New Year brings old and new things to look forward to, including one more celebration of Christmas before the decorations are taken down and stored away until December. The Feast of the Epiphany goes by various names; Little Christmas, Three Kings Day, or Twelfth Night, which remains the official end of the seasonís ëTwelve Days of Christmasí counting from Christmas evening on December 25 to the Epiphany on January 6.

The Feast of the Epiphany is just as important as Christmas Day. It is known as the day when the three Magi followed a star to Bethlehem bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. From that day, Jesusí divinity was made known to the gentiles.

Epiphany water

At Mass, there is a blessing with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Ask if you can take some of these home with you afterwards and sprinkle some Epiphany water – which is holy water blessed at the Epiphany Mass – in each room of the house to bring blessings. This is also a good way to prepare for the Baptism of Jesus which takes place the Sunday after the Feast of the Magi. The Epiphany water recalls the waters of the Jordan, and is a visible reminder of Christís Divinity, of Jesusís revealing Himself as God at His Baptism.


Rejoice in the celebration of the Epiphany. As one of the names is Little Christmas, treat the day as a final celebration of the holiday. In Ireland it was tradition to burn a sprig of holly used in the Christmas decorations. Giving gifts on January 6 was customary; wrap up something small and give it to someone in your family. It could be the last chocolate bar in your selection box for mum or dad or a new piece of stationary to a sibling for returning to school. It was also tradition to have a mini Christmas dinner complete with crackers and goose or pheasant or something else smaller than turkey. Light a candle and place it on the windowsill to guide the three kings. A polish tradition is to write the names of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) on some paper and to hang it in the door way. The idea behind this was so the Magi knew where to stop on their journey.