It seems like everyone has moved on and I’m still over here Christmasing! There are still ridiculous Hallmark Christmas movies to be watched… thanks to my DVR; and, there are still celebrations to be had!
Today is Epiphany or Twelfth Night which is the 12th day after Christmas! (See! It’s still Christmas :p ) Epiphany was the traditional Christmas gift-giving day since this was the day that the Baby Jesus received his gifts from the Magi… or the three kings or wise men. Because Epiphany falls on a Wednesday, the celebration is actually moved to the Sunday before in most parishes.
One way to mark (pun intended) or to celebrate Epiphany is a blessing of the home. A priest will bless chalk and scrawl markings over the door of the church which carries forth an ancient custom practiced in many homes around the world. For one’s own home, use chalk to write 20 + C + M + B + 16. The letters C, M, B are the initials of the names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The letters also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs actually represent the cross, not a plus sign ;) In Poland, they inscribe K+M+B+ and the year since in Polish the Kings’ names are Kacper, Melchior and Baltazar. According to tradition, this ritual is to provide protection against illness and misfortune for those within. The markings remain above the doors all year.
In Colonial Virginia, Epiphany was an occasion of great merriment, and often the time for balls. Today we talk about *June brides* but traditionally Twelfth Night was the time for weddings.
Whether or not there was a wedding planned, a great cake was prepared for Twelfth Night. Depending on the region or country, the cake included layers of fruitcake. The cake also included a bean with the notion that whoever found the bean in his or her slice would rule the feast. More modern traditions include parties where a King Cake is served. I always have this fear that I’m going to swallow that plastic baby! I haven’t so far…that I know of :-/
This year there won’t be any grand balls. Like most folks, I’ll be at work… but I did pick up another *on sale* Harry and David’s fruitcake confection. Yum!
Merry Christmas y’all :D