Epiphany Day in Chania! (photos)
Epiphany, also Theophany, or Three Kings’ Day, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles.
Moreover, the feast of the Epiphany, in some Western Christian denominations, also initiates the liturgical season of Epiphanytide. Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus on both sides of the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Qasr el Yahud in the West Bank, and Al-Maghtas in Jordan on the east bank, Al-Maghtas is considered to be the original site of the baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist.
The traditional date for the feast is January 6. However, since 1970, the celebration is held in some countries on the Sunday after January 1. Eastern Churches following the Julian calendar observe the feast on what for most countries is January 19 because of the 13-day difference today between that calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar. In many Western Christian Churches, the eve of the feast is celebrated as Twelfth Night. The Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday.
Popular Epiphany customs include Epiphany singing, chalking the door, having one’s house blessed, consuming Three Kings Cake, winter swimming, as well as attending church services. It is customary for Christians in many localities to remove their Christmas decorations on Epiphany Eve (Twelfth Night), although those in other Christian countries historically remove them on Candlemas, the conclusion of Epiphanytide.
According to the first tradition, those who fail to remember to remove their Christmas decorations on Epiphany Eve must leave them untouched until Candlemas, the second opportunity to remove them; failure to observe this custom is considered inauspicious.
See how Epiphany Day was celebrated in Chania: