The Feast of Epiphany is the climax of Christmas. It is on 6 January. It marks the end of the
12 days of Christmas and celebrates the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. These men are
often called Kings or Magi. They brought valuable gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to
honour the baby.
The gift of gold was the gift people usually gave to their King. By giving
gold they were recognising Jesus as their King. The second gift, frankincense, is a white gum
from a tree called 'Arbor Thurisfrom'. After hardening the gum forms a hard resin which when
burnt gives off a fragrant smell. It was burnt as an offering to God during worship, used a
medicine and also a perfume. The third gift was myrrh which was also a gum from thorny tree.
Myrrh is a wound healer because it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving
qualities. It was also used as an embalming material when someone had died.
Epiphany is the day when all Christmas decorations need to be taken down otherwise it is said
to bring bad luck.
The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas and is sometimes called 'Twelfth Night'.
In the Church calendar the Epiphany season lasts until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.