Traditions - General Info

Epiphany - Christian Celebration - January

This page was updated on: Monday, December 11, 2017 at: 1:38 pm

Origins of the Epiphany

Epiphany - Epiphanie is a very popular tradition in France, where it is celebrated on the first Sunday after New Year.

French will therefore celebrate on January 7, 2018 and January 6, 2019.

Some countries make Epiphany a fixed celebration on January 6.

The word epiphany comes from the Ancient Greek epiphaneia meaning appearance, manifestation.

It has a deep religious symbolism, because it celebrates the Revelation of God in the form of Jesus Christ.

It is also the celebration of the journey of the Magi or Wise Men, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar.

The Star of Bethlehem guided them to the stable where Baby Jesus was born so they could give Him their presents.

The Epiphany originally celebrated the Birth of Christ and was therefore more important than Christmas.

However, the Birth of Christ was moved to December 25 during the 4th century.

Many countries, including France, celebrate the Epiphany on the first Sunday after New Year.

The date therefore fluctuates.

Other countries celebrate on January 6 in order to mark the date of Baptism of Christ and of the first miracle He performed at the Marriage at Cana, when He turned water into wine.

Epiphany used to be a day of celebration and French people had the day off until the French Revolution.

It was also a day of banqueting that always ended with the traditional Galette des Rois - Kings' Cake!

This delicious frangipane tart is still very popular!

It indeed contains a porcelain bean and the person who draws the slice with the bean becomes king or queen for the day.

Children obviously love it!

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