Tag Archives: epiphany

Epiphany traditions

In Spanish-speaking parts of the world the Three Kings receive letters from children and bring them gifts on the night before Epiphany. In some areas of Spain, children prepare a drink for each of the Magi, and prepare food and drink for the camels. Cities and towns organise cabalgatas in the evening, in which the kings and their servants parade and throw sweets to the children (and parents) in attendance. The Mystery Play of the Three Magic Kings is also presented on Epiphany Eve. In the Philippines the cabalgada is today done only in some areas, and another dying custom is children leaving shoes out on Epiphany Eve, so that they may receive sweets and money from the Three Kings. Sadly the Three Kings as gift-givers have been largely replaced by Santa Claus. In Paraguay, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, children cut grass or greenery on 5 January and put it in a box under their bed for the Kings’ camels.

In Spain and Portugal, a special ring-shaped cake Roscon de Reyes contains a small figurine of a King (or another surprise) and a dry broad bean. The one who gets the figurine is “crowned” (with a crown made of cardboard or paper), but whoever gets the bean has to pay the value of the cake. In Mexico whoever gets a figurine is supposed to organise and be the host of the family celebration for the Candelaria feast on 2 February. In France and Belgium, a cake containing a small figure of the baby Jesus, is shared within the family. Whoever gets the figure is crowned king for the remainder of the holiday and wears a cardboard crown purchased with the cake. A similar practice is common in many areas of Switzerland, but the figurine is a miniature king. In New Orleans, and parts of southern Texas, a similar ring-shaped cake known as a “King Cake” traditionally can be bought in bakeries from Epiphany to Mardi Gras.

A tradition in Poland and German-speaking Catholic areas is the writing of the three kings’ initials (C+M+B or K+M+B) above the door of Catholic homes in chalk. This is a new year’s blessing for the occupants and the initials are believed to also stand for “Christus mansionem benedicat” (“May Christ Bless This House”). These markings may be made by the Sternsinger (literally, “star singers”) – a group of children dressed up as the magi, who carry a star and sing Christmas carols as they go door to door. After singing, the children write the three kings’ initials on the door frame in exchange for charitable donations.

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Fr Matthew

Christ the King bidding prayers, 4 January 2015 (Epiphany)

Priest: Brothers and Sisters as we pray for our needs, let us remember those of the Church and the wider world.

Reader: The response is…. Lord, Show us how to be gift.

We pray for Pope Francis who is revealing a new Spirit of mercy in the Church. (Pause)

Lord, Show us how to be gift.

We pray for all who are working to alleviate suffering in the world…In particular, we remember those striving to combat Ebola in West Africa; and those who have given time freely at Christmas to be alongside others less fortunate than themselves. (Pause)

Lord, Show us how to be gift.

We pray for Sara and Alexandra Siwiak, Erin Mary Farell Williams and Ray Joseph Hennessy who are being baptised here this weekend. May the lives of their parents, godparents and all of us here, be examples of faith to inspire them.

Lord, Show us how to be gift.

At Epiphany remembering the Kings, we pray for those who bring gifts of leadership and authority that they may use them wisely. (Pause)

Lord, Show us how to be gift.

At Epiphany, we pray that the gifts we bring to each other show the presence of Jesus in our lives. (Pause)

Lord, Show us how to be gift.

In a quiet moment, we make our own prayers (Longer pause)

Mary showed forth Jesus to the Magi and so we say……Hail Mary

Priest: Father God, we make our prayers to you trusting in your Son and with the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.

Epiphany

Christmas is coming to a close. It is tempting to wrap up our sentiments with the decorations – to put away the good feelings of the season.
But just when we thought it was over, along comes the Epiphany.

The Epiphany! Three wise men bent their knees in front of a Holy Babe born in a manger!

This Sunday, the church celebrates the feast of the epiphany – A realization that Christ
is the Son of God! Adoration of the Magi consolidates the event of incarnation of Jesus as Son of God.

The Epiphany originally celebrated four different events: the Baptism of the Lord; Christ’s first miracle, the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana; the Nativity of Christ; and the visitation of the Wise Men. Each of these is a revelation of God to man.

The Epiphany is celebrated by the Kerala Christians of South India under different titles in a very grand manner with lights and fireworks.

We need epiphanies. Let us open our eyes and ears and all the more our hearts to witness and become part of the epiphany. A moment of ignorance and we may miss it badly. We need epiphanies so that there shall be peace; love and courage abound in this New Year.

Wish you all a Happy New Year!