8 Things You May Not Know About The Feast of the Epiphany
By Baxter Jacinto
After everyone has greeted each other “Merry Christmas” and “Happy new year”, it seems as though Filipinos do not want the celebration to stop as there exists such a thing as “Happy Three Kings.” While not actually recognized as a holiday, the Three Kings celebration is regarded as an important part of the Christmas story. As we greet each other today on the Feast of the Epiphany a.k.a the The Adoration of the Magi, here are some facts you may not know about this day:
8. There could have been more than three.
There isn’t proof that there were exactly three kings that visited Baby Jesus, but three gifts were offered so by logic it’s a 1:1 ratio, therefore three kings.
7. What did they give?
The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh. Although we didn’t have an account of the rationale behind the gifts we’ve come up with symbolic representations for each gift.
Gold is often associated with royalties and King and we know that Jesus is the King of Kings. Meanwhile, frankincense is an item occasionally used to worship in churches, a symbolic gift to show one’s reverence. Lastly, myrrh is sort of a perfume for dead bodies which indicates that Jesus will eventually suffer and die.
6. Finding the location of Baby Jesus.
The original story from Matthew 2 goes like this: King Herod heard stories about a soon to be born baby destined to be the King of the Jews. Alarmed by this, Herod gathered all his advisers and asked for the location of this baby, and he was informed that the baby would be born in Bethlehem. Upon learning this, he gathered three wise men (the three kings) and told them to find this baby and report his whereabouts so that he could worship him as well. While searching, an unusual star arose from the sky which the three kings took as a holy sign which they followed. And that’s how they found Baby Jesus.
5. Dreaming of the Angel.
The night after they met Baby Jesus, the three kings were visited by an angel of God in their dreams informing them of Herod’s real motive (Spoiler alert: he wants to kill the baby), so the next day the three kings departed avoiding Jerusalem in their route.
4. Herod’s wrath.
Upon learning that the three kings had outwitted him, Herod ordered the massacre of all boys who were two years old or below in Bethlehem and its nearby locations. This came to be known as the Massacre of the Innocents. Like all things regarding the Bible, there is a debate whether this transpired or not.
3. King’s Cake
Celebrating the three kings wouldn’t be complete if there was no cake right? As such the King’s Cake was born and has become the official cake during the Feast of the Epiphany, and it usually has a small plastic baby on top of the cake to represent Baby Jesus. Now that’s what you call a sacred cake.
2. Difference on preference
Catholicism in the Philippines follows the Western Christian Church which has adapted the Gregorian calendar. But did you know that Eastern Christian Churches using the Julian calendar celebrates Christmas the day after the Epiphany, January 7th?
1. So, do they have names?
Although not specifically stated by the Bible, legends say that their names were Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. And up to now, we’ve known the three kings by these names.
Do you know other trivia’s about the Three Kings? Share them below!