Feast of the Epiphany marks end of Christmas Season

Published January 3, 2021, 10:48 AM

by Christina Hermoso

The long Christmas season in the country officially ends today, January 3, with the commemoration of the Feast of the Epiphany.
 
Liturgically, however, the joyous season officially ends next Sunday, January 10, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
 
The Holy Father Pope Francis traditionally celebrates a holy mass in honor of the feast at 10 a.m. (4 p.m. Manila time) at the St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican said, priests may each celebrate up to four holy masses today.
 
Also known as Theophany, meaning “vision of God,” the feast commemorates the manifestation of the Infant Jesus to the Three Wise Men from the East: Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthazar.
 
Celebrated in some countries as the Day of the Kings (El Dia de los Reyes) and the Feast of Light, priests in white vestments will focus their reflections on the events narrating the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East in Jerusalem to pay homage to the Infant Jesus. Warned by an angel in a dream not to tell King Herod of the location of the Infant Jesus, they took a different path on their return to avoid Herod who wanted to get rid of the newborn child whom he thought was a threat to his throne.
 
In Eucharistic celebrations today, readings will highlight the spiritual significance of the first manifestation of Jesus our Savior to the human race as well as of the symbolic meaning of the gifts of the Magi: Gold, the royal metal, which signified that Jesus is King; frankincense, the symbol of prayer, which signified that Jesus is the Son of God; and myrrh, which is used to anoint the dead, which signified that Jesus has to die for the salvation of all.
 
Old traditions associated with the feast include leaving shoes by the doorstep so the kings can leave behind gifts like candies or money.
 
From the Greek word “epiphaneia,” which means manifestation, the Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the “shining forth” or revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus. The feast originated in the Eastern Christian Churches and was originally a general celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus.
 
The Church said that while “Christmas is considered the family feast of Christianity, the Epiphany is the world feast of the Catholic Church, the feast of Christ’s divinity.” 

 
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