b. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization:
These definitions lift up the word epiphany to something more than standing in the aisle of Home Depot suddenly realizing just how to fix that plumbing problem...but sometimes it feels like the same thing.
Because I usually talk about Three King's Day from the perspective of Culebra, today I thought some world history would round out our rustic celebration of the day. This is taken from Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, which you can get in your email daily for a dose of lots of this's and that's, literarily speaking. Our own celebrations, which include the children putting hay under their beds for the camels who come carrying the Three King's (who are the Santa Claus figures of most Spanish/Latin cultures), along with the paso fino parade, the brisk clip clop of hooves resounding through the streets, will carry on generations of traditions. But none that go as far back as the story below. Well, at least not on Culebra!
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. The word "epiphany" comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "manifestation" or "striking appearance." Before Christianity, the word was used to record occasions when Greek gods and goddesses made appearances on earth.
In the Eastern Church, which includes the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, today is a general celebration of God's becoming man. It includes celebrating a whole host of things: the birth of the baby Jesus, the revelation of Jesus' divinity to the rest of the world — like to the Magi visiting from Persia — and most importantly in the East, Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River.
Centuries after the Eastern Orthodox Church began celebrating the Epiphany, the Roman Catholic Church decided to start doing so too. But for some reason, the Western Church really latched on to this image of the Persian priests bringing gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold to the infant Jesus, guided from their homeland of Iran by a shining star. The Magi are mentioned only in Matthew's Gospel and he never specified how many magi there were — just that there were three gifts. In 1857, the Reverend John Henry Hopkins Jr. wrote some lyrics for a seminary Christmas pageant, a song that begins: "We three kings of Orient are / Bearing gifts we traverse afar / Field and fountain, moor and mountain / Following yonder star."
The festivities start at 11:00 at the playground (by the new school). The mosquitoes are fierce today so bring your spray. Felizidades!