Saturday, January 5, 2013

Epiphany Traditions

5 January 2013 (ACNS) - The Christmas season ends on the twelfth day of Christmas, the 5th of January. This has often been celebrated with great revelry on "Twelfth Night," or the eve of the Epiphany going into Epiphany morning. In the Church, it is customary on the eve of the Epiphany to bless a form of holy water called "Epiphany Water." This is done according to specific ancient rites and begins with the singing of the Litany of the Saints. This water is set aside for blessing homes on the Feast of the Epiphany.

During the Epiphany blessing of homes, it is also a tradition that the priest takes a piece of blessed chalk and marks a cypher over the front door of the home. This cypher consists of the year and the first initials of the three Magi, with crosses in between. This year the cypher is 20+C+M+B+13. Also on the Feast of Epiphany it is traditional to bless gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the gifts brought by the Magi.