'Epiphany, or "Twelfth Night" as it is traditionally known in England, was marked by celebrations that brought an end to the twelve day Christmas period, and was the last chance for merry-making before returning to work. The Yule log, lit on Christmas day, remained burning until Twelfth Night in order to bring good fortune to the house for the coming year. Its charred remains were kept, both to kindle the next year's Yule log, as well as to protect the house from fire and lightning. The period leading up to Twelfth Night was celebrated in medieval times as the "festival of fools," during which a "lord of misrule" presided over mischief and wild antics. Twelfth Night itself was a traditional day for plays or "mummings," and it is thought that Shakespeare's play took its name from the fact that it was first performed as part of Twelfth Night celebrations about 1601'.
'Twelfth night' happens to be also my favourite amongst Shakespeare's plays and perhaps that is why I associate it with Epiphany or 'Theophany'. As for many 'La Fete des Rois' was a traditional celebration during my childhood and one I made sure to pass on to my children as well.
This 2000 years old Roman Catholic festival commemorates the arrival of the three Kings with gifts for Baby Jesus. Gaspar (Master-of-Treasure), Balthazar (King) and Melchior (Protect-the-King) came from three different continents with three offerings: Gold, Frankincense and myrrh.
Fires are still lit this night in many villages, a reminder of that special night in Bethlehem when as the legend tells us, fires burned high and bright thus hiding the Star from King Herod's spies.
The traditional galette or King's cake holds a bean. It is still a family tradition for many to gather together to cut the galette...Whomever finds the bean is crowned King of the Day and...chooses a Queen.
And now you know what we will be doing tonight...
Blessings to all,