Monday 6th January is Epiphany; the name for Twelfth Night in the Christian Calendar. The day when traditionally the Christmas Tree and other decorations should be removed until the following year.
Epiphany is defined as 'a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ'.
In the UK, Epiphany has become associated with an “Aha!” moment. As a literary device, epiphany (pronounced ih-pif--uh-nee) describes the moment when a character has a life-changing realisation which alters the direction of that character's belief structure and hence marks a turning point in the plot which influences the rest of the story. These are moments of great philosophical, spiritual, or personal insight. The term Twelfth Night has been immortalised by the Shakespeare's play by that name. The Wikipedia image from Shakespeare's play (from an engraving by R. Staines after a painting by Daniel Maclise) depicts Malvolio courting a bemused Olivia, while Maria covers her amusement.
In Western Christianity, the Epiphany feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, whereas in Eastern Christianity, Epiphany commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.
The traditional date for the feast is 6th January, although some recognise it as the night of 5th January, and since 1970, the celebration is held in some countries on the Sunday following 1st January.
Popular Epiphany customs included attending church services, chalking the door, having one's house blessed, winter swimming, Epiphany singing. It was traditional to consume Three Kings Cake or Twelfth Night cake, which would have a pea and a bean hidden within it; perhaps this was a prelude to our tradition of hiding a small coin in the Christmas Pudding. The lady who found the pea would be Lady or Queen of Misrule whereas the man who discovered the bean would be proclaimed Lord or King of Misrule, and roles would be reversed between masters and commoners, possibly explaining Shakespeare’s choice of title for his play although no direct reference is made to this feast within the script itself.
For Joanna's newly published forthcoming event list, including Walton-on-Thames Healing Shares, mini-workshops and Forest Bathing+ Case Studies, see this January 2020 Harmony Healing Event Update.
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