Are you aware that even non-Christians celebrate epiphany? In places such as Puerto Rico, natives exchange gifts during the three Kings’ day more than they do during Christmas. Other countries such as Croatia, Poland, Cyprus, Austria and parts of US have made it a public holiday. Christians celebrate epiphany to mark the visit of the three wise men and baptism of Jesus. Dia De Los Reyes is among the oldest Christian holidays and feasts. This day was celebrated for the first time in the second century before the establishment of Christmas. Many scholars refer to this day as Twelfth night, twelfth day and sometimes the Feast of Epiphany. Eastern Christians call it Theophany to mean God’s manifestation. Epiphany can also refer to the church season immediately after the festive day. During this time, Christians remember the first two occasions when divinity was shown in Jesus’ life: when the three wise men were led to Bethlehem by a star and when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the waters of River Jordan. Both the Protestants and Roman Catholics put a lot of emphasis on the visit of the three kings when they commemorate this day. On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox churches emphasize His baptism than the visit of the Magi.
On this day, various artworks, paintings as well as sketches are designed to indicate the three Kings and baby Jesus. Some of the paintings are created to show the three wise men as they make the way to Bethlehem or adoring the new born baby Jesus. The three (Kings) wise men are considered important because their visit shows that Jesus was the overall King of Kings who was born for the Gentiles and Jewish. The star that led the three kings to Bethlehem are said to symbolize the epiphany and three gifts carried by the wise men namely gold (perfect reward for a king), Frankincense (used during worship at the temple) and lastly myrrh (used in embalming). The other paintings showcased on this day depict His baptism and His divine nature. A great percentage of Orthodox churches argue that the baptism of Jesus marked the first step of his crucifixion. White is the liturgy color used on this day.’
United Stated of America
The Three Kings’ Day is celebrated on January 6th every year. During this day, America joins other nations to remember the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus after His birth according to the Biblical account. In the United States of America Virgin Islands, this day is considered as one of their public holidays. Residents of the US Virgin Islands celebrate Dia De Los Reyes as a way of emphasizing and maintaining the heritage and culture. One of the places where this ceremony is taken very serious is the Island of St. Croix where the day is characterized by music, food, bands, parades and different forms of entertainment. Although other parts of the United States of America have not declared this day as a public holiday, majority of the Christians participate in different activities such as
• luncheons, celebrations as well as parties
• Star processionals held on the Sunday closest to this day for church
• Treasure hunts in order to discover to the figure of baby Jesus
• Get together ceremonies and parties to clean homes
• Sunday schools for kids mainly focus on the three wise men where they create the Star that guided the three wise men all the way to Bethlehem to see the new born baby
In Louisiana, this marks the start of the Mardi Gras season. During this period, it is like a custom for residents to bake cakes that can include small trinkets with the same appearance as baby dolls in the inside. That person who will get cake containing the trinket is given various obligations and privileges thereafter. The period between epiphany and the Mardi gras season is called the King cake season. Because Epiphany has been declared a public holiday in Louisiana, all shops, businesses and government offices do not offer services on this day. In fact, some businesses close earlier on the day before January 6TH. The day is not a federal holiday in the other parts of the United States of America thus business goes on as usual.
In the nation of France, the Day of Kings (France Le Jour Des Rois) is commemorated by both kids as well as adults. The cake of kings is among the things that highlight these celebrations. The cake has a round and flat shape, divided into panty and then covered using a white napkin before it is carried to the dining room where celebrations are held.
On this day, Spanish kids fill shoes with grain or straw so that the wise men’s horses to eat and then place them in front of their doors or balcony. The next day they will find gifts such as cookies in these places. The three wise men make entries in different parts of Spain in the company of military bands as well as drummers dressed in medieval outfits.
There is no doubt that the three Kings’ day is the most significant day among residents of Puerto Rico. On this day, people exchange gifts more than they do on Christmas. Kids gather hay, straw or grass in their shoe boxes for Magi’s horses as well as camels. When you visit this place, you will find artwork and carvings of the three wise men on horses instead of camels because the natives knew nothing about camels at that time.
In conclusion, Dia De Los Reyes is the Latino America commemoration of the three wise men visit to see baby Jesus. In many South American countries it is three kings who present kids with gifts to remember the birth of Jesus and not Santa Claus. The kids in these countries write letters telling the three kings how well they are and the kind of gifts they want to be given when marking the birth and baptism of Jesus. Apart from Latino America countries, other believers also remember the three kings in different ways. The Protestants and Roman Catholic use this day to celebrate the visit of the three wise men as well as baptism while orthodox churches mainly concentrate on the baptism because they allege that it marked the beginning of his crucifixion.
By: Anthony Davids