Epiphany is a very early feast in the Catholic Church. The traditional date of the feast is January 6, twelve days after Christmas, but the liturgical celebration is now moved to the following Sunday in the United States. The Western Church celebrates the Epiphany as the visitation of the Magi to the infant Jesus. “These three wise men from these faraway places come … but really what’s behind that is they’re representing all peoples of all nations. So that’s you and me,” explained Relevant Radio® contributor Marge Fenelon on Morning Air®.
“Making our homes, making our day festive is like a celebration of the gift that was given to us by the Magi,” says Fenelon. She gives ideas for us to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany with our families:
- Make a Star of Bethlehem. “Put your hands to work … it brings home the meaning of the day.” You could all work together to make a star, or each family member could create one. Use your creativity and make them as simple or intricate as you like! Put it in your prayer corner or hang it above your nativity scene at home.
- For a fun snack, have some star fruit! When you slice the tropical fruit, it makes a star shape. What a fun treat to have! Or, get creative and make some other star-shaped snacks – cutout cookies, sandwiches, etc.
- Read the Epiphany narrative. Many families read the Christmas story throughout Advent and the Christmas season, but the Feast of the Epiphany is another great time to get out the Bible and read through the story of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:1-12). Take time to reflect on what is happening and try to visualize it. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, have your family act out the story or discuss it as a group.
- Bless your homes. It’s traditional to mark a blessing over the doorways of your home on the Feast of the Epiphany, and some parishes will even give you blessed chalk on your way out of Mass that Sunday. This year, you would write 20+C+M+B+19 and say a prayer. The numbers represent the year, and the letters are the initials of the three wise men. If you don’t get a prayer card at Mass, you can also find the blessing here.
- Have a special meal. Every country has special foods they prepare for the Feast of the Epiphany, so do some digging for a fun or unique recipe to try! Or, have a festive family favorite, and don’t forget dessert! It’s a great day to eat like royalty, says Fenelon.
Some families and parishes begin with their three kings from the nativity scene placed across the house, and move them to new spots throughout Advent and Christmas, until the finally end up at the manger scene to visit Jesus on the Epiphany. This is another great way to teach your kids and grandkids about the journey of the wise men.
Whatever you do for the Feast of the Epiphany, remember to make it a joyful and festive celebration!