Christmas is over. You undressed your tree by taking off the ornaments and strings of lights and placing them in their designated plastic containers labeled “Christmas decorations.” You took your tree and put it in a “tree bag” or box and taped the box shut. You stored everything either in the basement or attic for another year.
You take baby Jesus out of his bed, wrap him in bubble wrap, and put him in a box. Wait. Take him out of the box and put him back in his crib where he lays with Mary and Joseph next to him. Christmas is not over.
January 5, twelve days after Christmas, is the feast of the Three Kings and The Feast of Epiphany. It took the wise men twelve days to find Jesus in his stable in Bethlehem. Christians celebrate this day to remember both the visit of the Wise Men and Jesus’s Baptism.
The feast is not a celebrated holiday in the USA as in other countries. Here are six countries and their celebrations.
6 Ways to celebrate The Feast of the Three Kings
- Spaniards visit their local bakery in the morning and buy Roscon, a ring-shaped roll filled with cream or chocolate and topped off with a crown. There is a figurine of a king buried in the roll and a dried bean. If you find the King, you wear the crown. If you find the dried bean, you have to pay for the cake.
- On ‘El Dia de Los Reyes,’ bakers in Mexico bury a figurine of baby Jesus inside a “Rosca de Reyes,” Three Kings Cake. The person who receives the piece of cake with the figurine will be the “godparent” of Jesus for that year.
- Austrians write the initials of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, with the last two digits of the previous year in the beginning and the last two digits of the new year at the end (20*C*M*B*21), with chalk over their front doors. They believe this will protect their homes for the next year.
- Children in Belgium and Poland celebrate by dressing as the three wise men and go door to door caroling. The neighbors reward them with money or sweets.
- Irish women get the day off from housework and cooking. The Epiphany, “Women’s Christmas,” gives the women a chance to get together and have tea and cakes.
- New Orleans is one of the USA’s places that celebrates The Epiphany by replacing the ornaments on their Christmas trees with Purple, Gold, and Green ones. They call it a “Mardi Gras Tree.” They have a King Cake, a cinnamon pastry with sugar on the top and sometimes filled with cream cheese or jelly/jam, with a plastic doll representing Jesus. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the doll must make the next cake. A King Cake party takes place every Friday before Lent.
Children in some countries don’t get their gifts from Santa but from the Three Kings.