Feast of the Epiphany

admin | 1/11/2012, 7 a.m.

Holiday sheds light on overlooked Wise Men

For many Christians, the tale of the the magi or the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem is often treated as a side note to the larger story of the birth of Christ. Yet during the Feast of Epiphany, the often overlooked biblical characters take center stage. To commemorate the revelation of the baby Jesus to mankind, the holiday of The Feast of the Epiphany was celebrated on Friday, Jan. 6th, the day the Catholic Church believed that the wise men gave their gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold -- gifts traditionally given to kings -- to Christ. The Feast of Epiphany, then, calls us to contemplate our own creation and its orientation to our new creation in Christ Jesus, according to the blog, Roma Locuta Est. While we may at first be drawn to thoughts of the three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the true gift of Epiphany is Christs gift of himself for our salvation. According to Religion Facts.com, the celebration of the holiday originated in eastern European Christian churches and the event was even seen as a fulfillment of the Jewish Feast of Lights. Technically the names of the magi are not known (the Bible does not disclose their actual names or the actual number of individuals). However, with the passage of time, the Western Christian church has come to recognize three wise men and name them Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Celebrations for the Feast of the Epiphany are particularly popular in Latin communities. Traditionally, children will leave out an empty shoe box on the evening of January 5th or a box filled with camel foods such as grass and corn while expecting to receive a small treat the following day in their box. According to tradition, the Magi, riding on their camels, visit the houses of children and leave them gifts. "Rosca de Reyes" -- a large ring-shaped bread roll is often baked for the Epiphany holiday. In South Florida, the annual Three Kings Parade, which celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, held on Calle Ocho drew thousands of participants and observers on Sunday, Jan. 9th. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com