Many feel that since Christmas Day has passed, the presents have been opened, and the family has gone…it’s time to pack up the Christmas decorations and get ready for New Years. No! Christmas has just begun. Christmas Day starts up the 12 days of Christmas which ends with the Epiphany on January 6. The Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. You may hear it called “Three Kings Day”. It commemorates the day the three kings (the magi or “wise men”) followed the star to Bethlehem and presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King.
In some Central and South American countries influenced by Catholic tradition, Three Kings’ Day, or the night before, is the time for opening Christmas presents (many bake the Three Kings Cake).www.dcist.com
It is customary to give small gifts throughout the twelve days of Christmas. The cakes above hide gifts inside the cakes to discover! We are usually with our relatives on Christmas Day, but we will do small gifts or lil trips throughout town to celebrate throughout those 12 days.San Francisco Tea Gardens during 12 days of Christmas
We will go to Mass on the Epiphany, and instead of opening presents (which many wait to open gifts this night over dinner) we will celebrate with a family dinner or maybe head to the Happiest Place on Earth…even Mickey Mouse and the gang celebrate the Epiphany.
Of course, we keep the Christmas tree up the whole time, play Christmas music, and continue to wish friends and family a Merry Christmas. It’s all a wonderful way to draw the joy of Christmas into the New Year–and to draw our children more fully into the beauties of the Catholic Faith. Yes, I had Christmas music blaring throughout the house and outside today-my husband was more than patient with me.