Three Wise Men
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 inEurope, it is known as Three Kings’ Day. Because of differences in church calendars, mainly between the Eastern Orthodox and the western Catholic and Protestant traditions, both Christmas and Epiphanyhave been observed at different times in the past. The term epiphany means to make known or even "to reveal." In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit theChrist 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 thetime for opening Christmas presents. In some eastern churches, Epiphany or the Theophany commemorates Jesus’ baptism, with the visit of the Magi linked to Christmas. In some churches the day iscelebrated as Christmas, with Epiphany/Theophany occurring on January 19th.
Epiphany is the climax of the Advent/Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are usually counted from theevening 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 TwelfthNight. 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 inFrench 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 theevening of January 6th is counted as the Twelfth Night. On the island of Puerto Rico, many Catholics celebrate January 6th as Three Kings Day. It's part of the annual Epiphany celebration --- marking the...
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