What is epiphany and when is it celebrated?

What is Epiphany? Epiphany is a term in traditional Greek that is derived from the words ‘to appear’, and is used to describe manifestation, or appearance. In the Christian content it is used to describe the day that Christians celebrate the revelation or manifestation of God’s son as a human being in the young born child in Bethlehem named Jesus Christ. The answer to the question what is epiphany differs across different churches. The epiphany day is the day that all the Christmas decoration is brought down.

The western Christian churches were noted to have been celebrants of the nativity of Jesus Christ as the Christmas festivity on December 25th and it then set the date for the commemoration of the reveal of Christ as 6th January. The liturgical western churches on the other hand celebrate the feast for twelve days that ends on the 5th of January, while in other regions the feast is extended for forty days making the end date as 2nd February. The Roman Catholic Church prior to the reforms in 1955 celebrated the epiphany as eight days which began from 6th January until the 13th of January which was named as the octave of epiphany.

The feast is normally a representation of the end of Christmas and it is celebrated in churches as a religious holiday as well as a secular holiday in other parts of the world. The observance of epiphany is done as the first Sunday after the first Saturday of January by the Roman Catholic Church and the protestant churches. The holiday is not observed as a major holiday by the lesser staunch Christians and in some churches the turnout during masses is not an obligation. In some cases the explanation of what is epiphany, goes under a different name such as in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church the festivity is known as TimKat.

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