Epiphany Quick Facts - US

AKA NameTrettondedag Jul
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2025 DateJanuary 6, 2025
2026 DateJanuary 6, 2026


Epiphany commemorates the visitation of the Magi to the baby Jesus, acknowledging him as the Son of God. It marks the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles, symbolizing the spread of the Gospel beyond the Jewish community. The observance encapsulates fundamental themes of divine revelation, mission, and acceptance of Jesus’s messiahship by all nations. Depending on various Christian denominations, the Epiphany also honors events such as Jesus’s baptism by John the Baptist and the wedding feast at Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle.

Epiphany has roots dating back to the 3rd century in Egypt. It was initially simultaneous with the celebration of Christ's birth, before the separation of Christmas and Epiphany in the 4th century. For many Protestants and Roman Catholics, Epiphany symbolizes the mission to bring the Gospel to the non-Jewish world, emphasizing the universality of Jesus’s message.

The period leading up to Epiphany, known as the Twelve Days of Christmas, culminates in an Epiphany feast or party on January 5, referred to as Twelfth Night. Epiphany, often falling on January 6 in America, might feature church services, house blessings, and other community-oriented events. Epiphany Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and 8, incorporating special hymns, scriptures, and sermons reminding congregations of Jesus’s divinity and humanity.

Top facts about Epiphany

  • Epiphany Day is celebrated as a public holiday in Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Denmark and Norway do not have the day off, but do hold special mass and church services. The day is also a holiday throughout much of Eastern Europe.
  • In some Eastern Orthodox Christian communities, Epiphany is celebrated by a procession to the nearest river, lake, or pond. The priest blesses the water and he throws a cross in the waves. People dive into the water to retrieve the cross, and the one who finds it is thought to be particularly blessed in the New Year.
  • The Pennsylvania Dutch have a unique tradition related to Epiphany. Called "Apfel Segen" (Apple Blessing), they carve the initials of the three magi (Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar) into a large apple along with the year, which is then dried and preserved. It's believed to protect the home from evil spirits and bring good luck for the coming year.
  • A centuries-old Epiphany tradition involves writing a specific pattern (such as *20+C+M+B+22*) over their doors with chalk. The letters represent the initials of the three magi, while the numbers symbolize the year. This ritual is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring blessings upon the household.
  • In Louisiana, Epiphany marks the start of the Carnival season. A special cake called the "King Cake" is baked and eaten throughout this time. A small baby figurine (representing Baby Jesus) is hidden inside the cake, and whoever finds it in their slice is said to have good luck and is often required to host next year's celebration.

Top things to do for Epiphany

  • Take down any decorations, you should have taken these down on Knut’s Day, the day before Epiphany, but if you’ve been too busy eating, today is the day to get them down.
  • In some Western churches, church members share king cake, similar to the pastry served on Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A coin or bean is cooked into the cake, and whoever receives them gets to wear a crown for a day.
  • Epiphany is also known as a time to remember the visit of the Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. In the spirit of giving, consider volunteering your time, donating to a charity, or organizing a collection drive for those in need.
  • Spend time studying and learning about the history and meaning behind Epiphany. Read biblical passages, such as the account of the Wise Men in the Gospel of Matthew, or explore the cultural and religious traditions associated with this holiday.
  • If you belong to a Christian denomination that observes Epiphany Day, attending a church service is a meaningful way to celebrate this holiday.

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