For many Christians, the holiday season ends with December 25th or Christmas Day. But unbeknownst to many, there are several groups of Christians globally who celebrate into January for Epiphany or “Three Kings Day”. Traditionally celebrated on January 6th (and in some countries the first Sunday after January 1st) Three Kings Day is a day of feasting which commemorates the visit of the three wise men or “magi” to Jesus after his birth, bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts.
Three Kings Day is celebrated throughout Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, along with parts of Africa and Asia. Customs vary across cultures. For instance, in Mexico and the Philippines children leave out their shoes on the night of January 5th so that the three wise men can fill them with gifts. In Poland, Three Kings Day is celebrated with large parades, people dressed as the wise men pass out sweets to children, and carols are sung. In several countries people also consume variations of “king cake” which is a sweet dessert bread prepared for the Epiphany holiday.
Cover photo by Caryn Bailey taken January 3rd 2014