January 6th, Epiphany, marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas, (12 days of Christmas is actually a thing. Who knew?). It is a celebration of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist and the visitation by the Three Wise Men, which is why it is sometimes called Three Kings Day.
All around the world, Christian communities celebrate Epiphany with great flurries of awesomeness. Here are some of them:
In Mexico it is traditional to bake and eat the Rosca de Reyes, (King’s Bread). Much like the King Cake of Mardi Gras, a small baby Jesus figure is placed in the bread and whoever gets him is charged with throwing a party on Candlemas in February. Tasty!
In some European countries, children leave their shoes out to be filled with presents. In others, they leave straw out for the Wise Men’s horses or donkeys. (Stockings and Santa cookies/reindeer carrots anyone?)
Eastern Europeans celebrate by having a priest throw a cross into the water and inviting people to dive in after it. -shiver- Whichever diver finds it first is the winner. I hope the prize is an electric blanket!
Back in the states, in NYC to be exact, a parade of brightly colored floats and puppets graces the streets. The parade is sponsored by the Latino museum El Museo del Barrio. Why we don’t have anything like that in LA is a mystery to me.
Oh wait! We do.
Take some time today to celebrate no matter what religious background you come from. If you aren’t Christian, instead of celebrating Christ’s baptism and the arrival of the Three Wise Men, celebrate all the epiphanies, great and small, that you’ve had in the past year. What gifts has the Universe given you? How have your eyes been opened?
Most importantly, dance, pray, bake some delicious bread, eat some delicious bread, and rejoice!
Here is a great video of the 2015 Timkat festival in Los Angeles: