Three Kings Day
Epiphany is a Christian holiday the 12th day after Christmas, on Jan. 6. It celebrates the idea of the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the world at large. In the biblical story, the three kings, or Magi, follow a star that has appeared over Bethlehem. They discover Mary and the newly born Jesus. The three kings, named Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, give Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense (a milky white tree resin) and myrrh (a reddish resin). At that time in history, the resins were widely used for personal hygiene, as medicine, in aromatherapy and for anointing newborns. Today, the holiday of Epiphany is celebrated by Roman Catholics and Protestants, as well as Greek Orthodox Christians and other Eastern sects of Christianity, who consider Jan. 6 as the day Jesus was baptized.
Epiphany celebrations often include a “King Cake,” where a bean or small trinket is hidden inside and whomever receives the special piece gets to pretend to be a king for day. Other people will have their homes blessed with holy water, attend a church service, host a gathering or exchange gifts. In fact, in some Christian families, they don’t exchange gifts on Christmas, but rather on Epiphany.
Appropriate gifts if you are visiting on Epiphany would include candles, particularly in white, and candlesticks, like this Nordic Light Candelabra ($120).
I like this set of recycled glass pillars ($24.99) by World Market, because it has three candle holders; one for each king. It’s handmade in Spain from crushed glass that is remolded into something new.
If you’ll be with friends or family who are exchanging gifts for Three Kings Day instead of on Christmas Day, and who still have up their holiday tree, an ornament would be appropriate. This hand-painted Three Kings ornament ($55) seems tailor-made for this occasion.
For other gift etiquette stories, check out our GiftRap blog, and may the bean be in your piece of cake on Three Kings Day!