This Sunday we will celebrate Epiphany, one of the Great Feasts of our liturgical year, which signifies the end of the blessed Christmas season.
Epiphany commemorates Christ’s baptism—the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. The Lord’s physical manifestation, known as his “shining forth”, to the Gentiles is one of the most significant events in human history and provides us with an unshakable hope in his unfailing love. For Eastern Catholics, Epiphany celebrates Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. For Catholics in the West, this Feast Day also commemorates the arrival of the Magi, which first confirmed Jesus Christ as the son of God.
So, how do you and your family celebrate this holy occasion?
In the spirit of the season, we thought it would be fun to provide a glimpse into the traditions held by a few of our ministry partners around the world.
For example, the children and families supported by Cross Catholic Outreach throughout Latin America will begin their holiday, “The Day of Kings”, on the eve of Epiphany. The night of January 5, children will excitedly leave their shoes by the door along with grass and water for the camels carrying the wise men. In the morning their shoes will be filled with candy and a gift from the traveling Magi.
In the Philippines, the long Christmas season ends on this day, known as “Three Kings”. In some of the provinces where we provide aid and support, three men dressed as the three kings ride around on horseback, distributing trinkets and treats to the children.
And our friends in Ethiopia will focus their festivities around ceremonies blessing water, signifying Christ’s baptism, and solemn processions with the sacred Tabot, replicas of the Ten Commandments and Ark of the Covenant.
So whether you share in similar traditions as our ministry partners around the world, or celebrate Epiphany in a different manner, may you and your families be filled with blessings at the close of this Christmas season! And as we commemorate our Lord’s “shining forth” to humanity, may we also commit this new year to shining his light, love and compassion to those in desperate need.