Feast of the Epiphany

Feast of the Epiphany

Saturday/ Sunday 1/2 January

Officially called “The Epiphany of the Lord,” this feast celebrates the epiphany, manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, symbolized by Christ’s manifestation to the Magi (wise Men).

The feast originally was more closely connected to Jesus’ baptism, the primary theme of the feast in Eastern Churches to this day. In addition, other manifestations of Christ were often commemorated during Epiphany, including the miracle at Cana. In fact, it has been asserted that the Baptism of the lord, the adoration of the infant Jesus by the Magi and the miracle at Cana all historically occurred on January 6 (see Abbot Gueranger’s works).

Whether this is true is contested, but either way, the Epiphany solemnity is celebrated on January 6, which falls within Christmastide. In some Catholic regions, the feast is translated to a Sunday.

The Eastern Churches often call the holiday Theophany, which means “manifestation of God.” Eastern Christians also refer to the Epiphany as “Holy Lights” because they baptise on this day, and baptism brings about illumination.

Traditionally, Epiphany marked the end of the twelve days of Christmas.