Epiphany in United Kingdom

Quick Facts

Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, marks the visit of the three wise men, or Magi, to Jesus and Jesus' baptism, which was performed by John the Baptist. This event is observed in the United Kingdom on January 6 each year.

Name

Epiphany

Alternative name

Three Kings' Day

Epiphany 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Epiphany 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015
List of dates for other years

Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, marks the end of the Christmas and New Year season for most people in the United Kingdom (UK). It is also an occasion for Christians to celebrate the three kings' (or wise men's) visit to Jesus shortly after his birth and Jesus' baptism.

Image of the Nativity scene, 3 wise men adoring baby Jesus.

Epiphany is a Christian observance that remembers the three wise men's (or Magi's) visit to Jesus.

©iStockphoto.com/duckycards

What do people do?

Some Christians attend special church services on January 6. Figures representing the three wise men, or the Magi, are placed in some crib scenes on Epiphany. This is especially true of crib scenes in or close to churches or church schools.

People in the UK remove their Christmas decorations from their homes, schools and workplaces on or before Twelfth Night. Many people believe that it is bad luck to display Christmas decorations after January 6. Decorations in town centers and shopping malls may stay on display for longer, as it can take many days or weeks to remove them all. The lights in these decorations are not generally turned on after January 6.

Some people hold Twelfth Night parties. They may serve a hot spicy punch called wassail or a Twelfth Night cake. A Twelfth Night cake usually contains one whole dried pea and one whole dried bean. The people who get the pea and the bean in their portion of cake are crowned king and queen for the evening.

Public life

Epiphany is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

Background

Midwinter festivals and parties have been held in the islands that now form the United Kingdom for thousands of years. When people began to convert to Christianity, aspects of the original festivals were incorporated into Christian celebrations. The Midwinter festival lasting for many days became the Twelve Days of Christmas. This period begins on Boxing Day on December 26 and lasts until the Twelfth Night. Hence, Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, marks the end of the Christmas and New Year season and the start of a New Year and church season.

About Epiphany in other countries

Read more about Epiphany.

Epiphany Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SatJan 61990EpiphanyChristian 
SunJan 61991EpiphanyChristian 
MonJan 61992EpiphanyChristian 
WedJan 61993EpiphanyChristian 
ThuJan 61994EpiphanyChristian 
FriJan 61995EpiphanyChristian 
SatJan 61996EpiphanyChristian 
MonJan 61997EpiphanyChristian 
TueJan 61998EpiphanyChristian 
WedJan 61999EpiphanyChristian 
ThuJan 62000EpiphanyChristian 
SatJan 62001EpiphanyChristian 
SunJan 62002EpiphanyChristian 
MonJan 62003EpiphanyChristian 
TueJan 62004EpiphanyChristian 
ThuJan 62005EpiphanyChristian 
FriJan 62006EpiphanyChristian 
SatJan 62007EpiphanyChristian 
SunJan 62008EpiphanyChristian 
TueJan 62009EpiphanyChristian 
WedJan 62010EpiphanyChristian 
ThuJan 62011EpiphanyChristian 
FriJan 62012EpiphanyChristian 
SunJan 62013EpiphanyChristian 
MonJan 62014EpiphanyChristian 
TueJan 62015EpiphanyChristian 
WedJan 62016EpiphanyChristian 
FriJan 62017EpiphanyChristian 
SatJan 62018EpiphanyChristian 
SunJan 62019EpiphanyChristian 
MonJan 62020EpiphanyChristian 

Other holidays in January 2014 in United Kingdom

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