The word ‘epiphany’ means manifestation, appearance or showing plainly.
We celebrate the epiphany of Jesus not just to the wise men, but to all people.
Epiphany is the 6th January, 12 days after Christmas, it has been estimated that this would have been the time taken for the Magi to travel to Bethlehem. Often celebrated the Sunday before the 6th Jan or together on the Sunday of the Baptism of our Lord
Today the 12 Days of Christmas are most famous as a song. However, to get the song there had to be the days to start with!
The first day of Christmas being Christmas Day and the twelfth day being Epiphany.
I once read that the song was a secret code, for those being persecuted, to spread the word of God. Just like the fish symbol was used to show others they were a Christian.
“The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ. Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love. The four calling birds are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of ...the Old Testament. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation....... Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit -- Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy. The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments. The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples. The twelve drummers drumming symbolizes the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.” (Anon)
The Baptism of our Lord is celebrated on the first Sunday after Epiphany.
Compiled by Rhonda Bruggemann