Epiphany in United Kingdom
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.
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.
Epiphany is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.
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 countriesRead more about Epiphany.
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Quick FactsEpiphany, 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.
Epiphany 2015Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Epiphany 2016Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Alternative nameThree Kings' Day
List of dates for other years
Other holidays in January 2016 in United Kingdom
- New Year's Day – Friday, January 1, 2016
- 2nd January – Monday, January 4, 2016
- Orthodox Christmas Day – Thursday, January 7, 2016
- Orthodox New Year – Thursday, January 14, 2016
- Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day) – Monday, January 25, 2016