Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Three Kings Day

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. Yes, I know that for Orthodox Christians this is not the case. Their calendar is different. And there are many Orthodox Christians in this city.

Today marks the official end of my Christmas season. Decorations are packed away. Thank you letters are supposed to be completed. (Mine are not!)

Adoration of the Magi by El Greco, 1568, Museo SoumayaMexico City
Source: Wikipedia.
Three Kings Day is actually a commemoration of the arrival of the Magi and the presentation of their gifts to the baby Jesus. The three wise men are reportedly Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. They were probably scientists on an expedition as they were very interested in a bright star in the sky which was probably Halley's Comet. They presented significant gifts to the baby - gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I am sure you know the story and how the little family then fled Bethlehem and went to Egypt, narrowly missing the Massacre of the Holy Innocents when Herod had many little boys killed. A lot of the information is actually verifiable but a lot has been twisted to suit various purposes. The gifts and presents idea has certainly caught on!

There are some interesting customs associated with Three Kings Day. A few have very little to do with Christianity.
  • Homes may be blessed.
  • Many people have a special dinner.
  • Some people eat a special bread.
  • A special cake may be eaten - Three Kings Cake.
  • Children dress up as kings.
  • Gifts are given.
  • Some people have bonfires and burn the old Christmas trees.
  • Some people believe that there is a special moment during the night when your wish will be granted. 
  • Practical jokes are popular on this night.
  • Plays may be performed, particularly including a character called "The Green Man."
  • Some people believe that during this night animals can talk.
  • This may be the last opportunity some people have to party for a while and the celebration could be quite rowdy.
  • It is the last night for the yule log to continue to burn.
I was raised in a family with strong Christian beliefs. I do not follow any religion now but lots of the information and customs remain firmly in my mind. Why don't I have a religion? Have you seen how people bomb and shoot and do horrible things in the name of their religion? I do not want to be part of that.
I enjoy some of the Twelfth Night customs. I hope you have a special dinner tonight too. A few jokes perhaps?

Twelfth Night Parade in London
Source; http://www.contrarylife.com/2015/01/celebrate-twelfth-night-holly-man-london-29367/

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Every comment on every blog contributes to linking people from many different countries and cultures. Eventually we create a more peaceful and understanding world.