The Feast of the Epiphany and Three Kings Day


kings and camels

The Feast of the Epiphany which celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ to man takes place on the 6th of January. The feast is a celebration of how Jesus Christ revealed himself in three ways; as child to the Magi, at His baptism, and at His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. The Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, therefore it is also referred to as the ‘Twelfth Night’. It is also a celebration in honour of the Three Wise Men (Magi) who came to visit Jesus Christ when he was born. ‘Three Kings Day’ is celebrated in Latin America, Spain, and in Hispanic communities of the United States. There is a tradition carried out by many families which sees the children receiving gifts under their bed upon waking up from their Twelfth Night slumber. This tradition represents the gifts Jesus Christ received from the Magi; gold, frankincense and myrrh. The children write letters to the Magi in the days leading up until January 6th and leave their shoes as well as some hay for the camels which the Magi are travelling on outside their door before going to sleep. In some European countries especially Italy, the day of the Feast of the Epiphany is seen to be of greater importance than Christmas Day with many celebratory events taken place amongst families and communities.

Below is a video which outlines what the Gospel of Matthew tells us about the Epiphany. It is a very useful resource for the classroom. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ was to change the world for all people.


Below is a video which shows the celebration of Three Kings Day in Mexico. This is an excellent video to show students how different cultures celebrate the traditions that we share. 


The first celebration of Three Kings Day at Disneyland.


Celebration of the Epiphany and Three Kings Day 2014 around the World. This is an excellent resource for all you need to know about the significance of the 6th January and the traditions which take place around the world.


Photos of the celebration of Three Kings Day 


three kings day three kings day 1 three kings day 2 kings in boat king cake

The Journey of the Magi – T.S Eliot
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


kings and gifts