The Day of the Lights ∼ Twelfth Night ∼ Little Christmas ∼ Old Christmas ∼ Three Kings Day ∼ Dia de Los Reyes (ES) ∼ Fota (EL)
Celebrating God's manifestation in various ways
Epiphany or Theophany is a Christian feast that commemorates the revelation of God to the people. It is considered as one of the oldest celebrations in Christianity, while through the centuries it evolved commemorating various events among the different Christian denominations. More specifically, in Western Christianity, it is observed as Epiphany and marks the visit of the Magi to baby Christ, while Eastern Christians call it Theophany and notice the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. The festivity is observed on the 6th of January, while Eastern churches that follow the Julian calendar celebrate it on the 19th of January.
The origins of Epiphany as a term can be found in the Greek language and means “reveal or appear” implicating the manifestation of God. Similarly, the term Theophany which is used in Orthodox Christianity is a combination of words that signify the “appearance or revelation of the God”. The universal parallelism of God as “Light” gives another name to the festival that is “The Day of the Lights” or simply “The Lights”.
The official ending of the Christmas period
The Epiphany indicates the official ending of the Christmas period and it is associated with the timing when the Christmas decorations are to be taken down. In some traditions, it is mentioned as the “Twelfth Night” (signifying the time-period from Christmas), while in others it is noted as “Little” or “Old” Christmas. In many parts of the world, Epiphany is considered equally significant as Christmas and it is celebrated accordingly. In the catholic world and countries like Spain, the “Three Kings Day / Dia de Los Reyes” (Magi) is characterized by public parades and common celebrations. While in Orthodox Churches which observe mainly Christ’s Baptism, the Blessing of the Waters is a fundamental ritual of Theophany. Some very distinctive customs and water-blessing ceremonies are performed by Greek, Bulgarian and Russian Orthodox for example.