The Season of Epiphany
In western Christian tradition, January 6 is celebrated as Epiphany. Because of differences in church calendars, mainly between the Eastern Orthodox and the western Catholic and Protestant traditions, both Christmas and Epiphany have been observed at different times in the past. Today, most of the Eastern Orthodox traditions follow the western church calendar.
Epiphany is the climax of the Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are counted from December 25th until January 5th. The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas.
In traditional Christian churches Christmas, as well as Easter, is celebrated as a period of time, a season of the church year, rather than just a day. The Season of Christmas begins with the First Sunday of Advent, marked by expectation and anticipation, and concludes with Epiphany, which looks ahead to the mission of the church to the world in light of the Nativity. The season of Epiphany extends from January 6th until Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent.
The Sundays following Epiphany are also known as Ordinary Time.
The Coming of the Three Wise Men
Epiphany remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King.
The Colours of Epiphany
The colour of the Feast of Epiphany is white and gold, the colour of celebration, newness, and hope that mark the most sacred days of the church year. For the following Sundays after Epiphany green the colour of Ordinary Time is used.
The church is decorated with flowers for the season.
The nativity scene remains until the Sunday after Epiphany. The figures of St Mary, St Joseph, the three Kings and animals together with the Infant Jesus are placed in the stable.