Epiphany Traditions

There are a number of traditions associated with the Feast of the Epiphany. In some places a Kings’ Cake in served in which are hidden two beans. Those who find the beans become the king and queen of the feast. Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night takes place at Epiphany. House blessings are also a traditional event during Epiphany, and it is the custom in some places to bless chalk at the end of the Eucharist, so that people can take some home and write over their doors 20+C+M+B+19. The 20+19 stands for the year, and the C+M+B is either short for Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the names which tradition gives to the Magi, or Christus Mansionem Benedicat which is Latin for May Christ Bless this House. You may want to google Blessing of Chalk or Chalking of Houses and find prayers to use at home for this form of house blessing. Another custom associated with Epiphany is the Announcement of Easter, when the date of Easter, and the various moveable feasts determined by the date on which Easter falls, was announced to the congregation. In some places this Announcement was sung to a tone similar to the Easter Exsultet. While this tradition comes from a time before everyone had access to a calendar, it remains a helpful reminder of the centrality of the Resurrection to our faith and the cycle of feasts and fasts that are determined by the date of Easter.

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