January 6, 2014

This weekend we entered the season of Epiphany:

In western Christian tradition, January 6 is celebrated as Epiphany. It goes by other names in various church traditions. In Hispanic and Latin culture, as well as some places in Europe, it is known as Three Kings’ Day (Span: el Dia de los Tres Reyes, la Fiesta de Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos; Dutch: Driekoningendag). Because of differences in church calendars, mainly between the Eastern Orthodox and the western Catholic and Protestant traditions, both Christmas and Epiphany have been observed at different times in the past. Today, most of the Eastern Orthodox traditions follow the western church calendar. The exceptions are some Greek Orthodox Churches and related traditions (for example, Russian and Serbian Orthodox) that still follow the older calendar and celebrate Epiphany as the Theophany on January 19th.

Epiphany is the climax of the Advent/Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are usually counted from the evening of December 25th until the morning of January 6th, which is the Twelfth Day. In following this older custom of counting the days beginning at sundown, the evening of January 5th is the Twelfth Night. This is an occasion for feasting in some cultures, including the baking of a special King’s Cake as part of the festivities of Epiphany (a King’s Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA).

In some church traditions, only the full days are counted so that January 5th is the Eleventh Day of Christmas, January 6th is the Twelfth Day, and the evening of January 6th is counted as the Twelfth Night.

And today I also wish you all a happy “Little Christmas” as well. Back in the old days – before Black Friday became as much of a tradition as Christmas itself, folks used to put up their Christmas trees on Christmas Eve and leave them up through the twelve days of Christmas – hence, January 6 being called “Little Christmas”.

Of course, the Christmas carol most commonly associated with Epiphany is “We Three Kings”. There are a lot of versions out there, but the one by The Beach Boys from their 1964 Christmas album is, I think, as good as you’re gonna find.

This past weekend was the one where everyone on our street yanked down their decorations, as if following some unheard and unseen queue. On Saturday I walked out my garage door to see no less than three other neighbors doing the same thing I was about to do: take the house lights down. Honest to God, I felt like I was playing some role in a Stepford Wives kind of thing.

Yesterday we took the Christmas tree and all the other decorations down. It’s always kind of a bittersweet occasion because the Christmas becomes such a part of the house while it’s up, yet it’s always great to get everything down and start the annual housecleaning effort that follows.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:48 | Comments (2)
2 Comments »
  1. And since I cannot take down and carry down any of my decorations, I am celebrating Orthodox Christmas and my dad’s birthday today. I may have decorations up almost to my birthday in March at this point. Cast on my foot for 3 months…not able to drive (stick shift), have to learn to negotiate outside stairs and two flights of stairs to my office using crutches in order to work at all. Without using crutches I would have to butt scoot all those stairs and would “scoot” out the butt end of all my pants in the process. So tomorrow will be the trial round to see how I can do this. Will have to organize drivers for the next three months, those who do grocery and errand runs for me…this is all so not me. AAARRRGGGHHH

    Comment by jana — January 7, 2014 @ 11:30 am


  2. Like Barbra Streisand once crooned, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — January 8, 2014 @ 4:55 pm


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