SummaryGina Berrios shares four ways to celebrate Feast of the Epiphany: the coming of the three Kings with gifts, King cake, Epiphany Door Blessing and Adoration.
We love to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany in our home, largely due to my husband’s Puerto Rican traditions.
He grew up celebrating this feast as the day baby Jesus received his gifts, therefore, kids in Puerto Rico receive gifts too. There was a strong distinction for him as a child that Christmas was the day Jesus was born, and the Feast of the Epiphany was the day Jesus received His gifts from the Three Kings.
By celebrating Christmas through the season ending with the Feast of the Epiphany, we are mindful of the liturgical season of Christmas we celebrate as a Church.
1. Leave out the decorations and eat King Cake
Leave up the tree! Keep playing Christmas carols! Leave out the Nativity scene! Continue baking cookies! Keep giving gifts!
I like to use the Feast of the Epiphany as a day to give gifts of appreciation to people in our life. Advent is so busy getting everything ready for our family’s celebration that I feel like I run out of time occasionally.
The Christmas season is a reminder we are still celebrating the birth of our Savior. Take a plate of cookies to the neighbors. Give a box of candy to the dance teacher. Send out the Christmas cards that did not make it to the mailbox yet.
Since I live in the land of Mardi Gras, King Cakes are in abundant supply. I like giving King Cakes to friends on the Feast of the Epiphany. The symbolism of the cake is about this feast. The cake is in the shape of a king’s crown. The purple icing stands for justice, the green is for faith, and the gold is for power.
2. Epiphany Door Blessing
Our parish gives out blessed chalk and a prayer card with the Epiphany house blessing. On the top of the front door entrance to your home, you write “20+C+M+B+17”. A blessing prayer follows, which the family prays together.
The meaning of the letters is 2017 for the year. C, M, B are the initials of the Three Kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also stand for the Latin phrase Christus Mansionem Benedicat, meaning Christ bless this house.
I like gathering the kids for this prayer, and for the visual reminder seeing the chalk writing over our door entrance. It is another way for all those who come to our home to witness our faith.
It is also our prayer that all our comings and goings from our home be blessed and all those who enter our home!
3. The Gifts of the Three Kings
As I mentioned, this was a day when my husband received gifts as a child. We continue this tradition with our kids. The night before, the kids leave out grass and water for the Three Kings’ camels.
In the morning, they are surprised with gifts.
We always discuss the gold, frankincense and myrrh and their symbolism and the significance of this Feast day. The gold is a gift for a king. The frankincense is for a priest. The myrrh is for someone who will die, as it is used as a burial ointment. I tell my kids about when I visited the Holy Land, and I kissed the stone on which they prepared Jesus’ body for burial. You can still smell the myrrh.
4. A Feast of Prayer and Adoration
As St. Gregory Nazianzen said,
“Let us remain on in adoration; and to Him, who, in order to save us, humbled Himself to such a degree of poverty as to receive our body, let us offer not only incense, gold and myrrh…,but also spiritual gifts, more sublime than those which can be seen with the eyes.” (Oratio, 19).
What a beautiful mediation for starting a new year!