Epiphany, the oldest festival on the Christian Church calendar, is a national holiday in at least 15 nations. Celebrations generally are related to children.
The name derives from the Greek word meaning appearance of a god. It commemorates the visit of the Magi, or Three Wise Men, to the baby Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem, and also His baptism as an adult. Because of the latter, many customs today have watery associations, such as the blessing of fishing fleets in harbours around the world.
In the former Yugoslavia, a cross is thrown into a body of water and young men dive after it. This ancient rite echoes even older pagan ceremonies of propitiation of gods of rivers, lakes and oceans ...
Removal from meat
The period from Epiphany (January 6), until Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day, or Pancake Tuesday; Mardi Gras in French) is called 'carnival'. In Roman Catholic countries it is a period for amusement and revelry, hence the fairground meaning of the word. Thus, the famous 'carnival' celebrations of the Christian world (such as at New Orleans, USA, Bagolino, Italy and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) take place at the end of the period when all foods may be eaten, and at the beginning of the period of fasting, although the weeks before Shrove Tuesday are in fact the period of carnival, or 'removal from meat'.
The word 'carnival' doesn't, as we might presume,
originate in something like 'farewell (vale in Latin) flesh', though
that's a reasonable assumption. It comes from the Latin carnis, flesh,
and levare, to remove. Lent, when flesh may not be eaten, immediately follows Carnival. On
Shrove Tuesday, people 'shrive' (confess) their sins and might eat pancakes to
use up the last of the eggs and butter before the fast of Lent
which is why
the French called it Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday)
Categories: folklore, lore, customs, christianity, religion, calendar-customs
1915 Alan Watts (d. November 16, 1973), British-American author, born at Chilehurst, England; mystic, meditation exponent and author (The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are; The Way of Zen; The Wisdom of Insecurity). Watts wrote and lectured extensively on Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism and other paths.
1920 Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Korean evangelist, leader of the 'Moonies' (Unification Church), self-styled Messiah, genuine extreme-right-wing tosser and owner of the Washington Times.
On March 23, 2004 (qv), Moon and his his wife Hak Ja Han, were crowned the 'King and Queen of Peace' on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building with Members of Congress looking on ...