Epiphany: what is the history of the Twelfth Night Cake?

Epiphany: what is the history of the Twelfth Night Cake?

- Categories : Actualités Religieuses

  • What is the Epiphany?
  • What is the importance of the Epiphany in the Christian calendar?
  • What is the symbolism of the Epiphany in the Bible?
  • When does the Epiphany take place?
  • What are the different symbols of the Epiphany?
  • The Star
  • The Wise men
  • The Wise men's gifts
  • The Kings' Cake
  • Since when is the Epiphany celebrated?
  • What are the different celebrations of the Epiphany in the world?
  • Why do the Three Wise Men arrive on 6 January?

The Epiphany is one of the most important feasts in the Christian calendar, celebrated on 6 January each year. It commemorates the revelation of the divinity of Jesus to the Wise men from the East, and the manifestation of Jesus as the saviour of all nations. This festival is celebrated in many countries and cultures around the world, with unique traditions and ceremonies that reflect local beliefs and customs. It is also rich in spiritual symbols that recall the profound significance of the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God.

What is the Epiphany?

Epiphany is a Christian festival celebrating and commemorating the presentation of Jesus to the Wise men. This festival is also called Three Kings Day. This festival recalls the journey of the Wise men and the adoration of the baby Jesus on their arrival. Epiphany is said to be one of the oldest festivals in Christianity.

What is the importance of the Epiphany in the Christian calendar?

Epiphany has a large place in the Christian calendar, like Christmas and Easter, it is one of the main festivals celebrating the life of Jesus.

What is the importance of the Epiphany in the Bible?

In the Bible, the Epiphany is the revelation of the divinity of Jesus to the Wise men from the East. This story is told in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is said that the Wise men, after seeing the star of Bethlehem, followed the star until they arrived in Jerusalem, where they asked King Herod where the "newborn King of the Jews" was. Herod, afraid that another king might take his place, asked the Wise men to report the child to him when they found him. The Wise men followed the star to the manger where they found Jesus with his mother Mary. They bowed down to him and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When is the Epiphany?

The Epiphany is 12 days after Christmas, which is 6 January 2023 this year.

What are the different symbols of the Epiphany?

The Epiphany is rich in symbols, both in the Bible and in Christian families today.

The Star

The star represents the light of God that guides believers to Jesus. It is the star of Bethlehem that guided the Wise men to the stable where Jesus was born.

The Wise men

The Wise men, coming from the East, represent the universality of Jesus' revelation: he is not only the king of the Jews, but the saviour of all nations.

The gifts of the Wise men

The gifts given by the Wise men also have a symbolic meaning. Gold symbolises Jesus' kingship, incense symbolises his divinity and myrrh symbolises his humanity and future death.

The Kings' Cake

The galette des Rois is a cake, containing a bean, which is shared on Epiphany. It is round, flat and golden, reminiscent of the sun. It is a typically French tradition, the Magi would have brought a cake to Jesus. It also symbolises the return of the sun and longer days after the winter period.

Since when is Epiphany celebrated?

In France, according to the calendar, Epiphany is a public holiday and has been since 1802, instituted by a papal legate. Epiphany has been celebrated since the 2nd century.

What are the different celebrations of the Epiphany in the world?

In France and Belgium, Epiphany is celebrated on the second Sunday after Christmas. In Sweden and Spain it is a public holiday and is celebrated by the country.

In Ireland, it is called Little Christmas and closes the Christmas season, with decorations being taken down and put away until the next Christmas season.

In Great Britain, the festival is also celebrated by the Church and a cake similar to the king's cake is served: Twelfth Night.

In Spain, the celebration begins on the evening of 5 January, with parades through the streets and the gifts of the Three Kings being given to children. A cake is also shared: Roscón de Reyes, in which there is a plastic or ceramic figurine or a bean seed.

Why do the Three Wise men arrive on 6 January?

According to the Bible, the Wise men began their journey on 25 December to reach Jesus. It would have taken them about ten days to arrive in Bethlehem and meet the son of God, which is why the 6th of January is the day chosen to celebrate the Epiphany and their arrival.

Prayer for the celebration of the Epiphany


Lord Jesus, today we celebrate the Epiphany, the day you were revealed to the nations by the Magi from the East.

We thank you for your coming into this world, for your humble birth in a manger, for your life among us.

We thank you for your light that illuminated the darkness of our world, for your wisdom that revealed the truth, for your grace that saved our lives.

Today we ask you to reveal your presence in our lives, to show us your way, to guide us to your truth.

We ask you to cleanse our hearts, to cast out our darkness and to fill our lives with your light.

We thank you for your infinite mercy and for your eternal blessing.


Amen

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