The Epiphany signals the official end of Christmas and marks the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The name ‘epiphany’ is actually Greek and means ‘manifestation’ with the date itself being a celebration of God coming to Earth as a human in the form of his son.
The date is also when the Three Kings (aka the Three Wise Men) arrived to meet the baby Jesus after following a bright star to Bethlehem and handed over their gifts of gold (to symbolise his royal standing), frankincense (to symbolise his divine birth) and myrrh (to symbolise his mortality).
And in case you didn’t know – frankincense and myrrh are both fragrances. Frankincense is a milk-white resin extracted from Boswellia trees and myrrh is a reddish resin from the Commiphora myrrh tree.
The Three Kings, known as the ‘Magi’, were called Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. Some suggest they are meant to represent Europe, Arabia and Africa.
Why is it called the Twelfth Night?