Sunday, January 3, 2016

Feast of the Epiphany

The Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem -- no, they didn't show up on the night of the birth of Jesus to share the spotlight with the shepherds, but I won't go into all that -- is traditionally on January 6. Now many churches celebrate it on a Sunday in order to give it more prominence in a secularized world in which few people are likely to show up for worship on a weekday/workday.

Among the more unusual customs of the day, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, Epiphany is marked by the Great Fruitcake Toss. Fruitcakes are thrown, participants dress as kings, fools, etc., and competitions are held for the farthest throw, the most creative projectile device, etc. As with customs in other countries, the fruitcake toss is a sort of festive symbolic leave-taking of the Christmas holidays until next year, but with humorous twist, since fruitcake (although the traditional Christmas bread of America, England and other English speaking nations) is considered in the United States with a certain degree of derision, and is the source of many jokes.


Mitchell is Moving said...

Oh how I love these traditional Christmas observances. The Fruitcake Toss!

Ur-spo said...

I still have a piece of chalk I received at Mass at this time of year. I recall I was supposed to draw some sort of sentence on the doorstep to welcome the Wise Men.

Michael Dodd said...

You were supposed to write the year and the initials of the wise men, usually something like this: 20+C+M+B+16. I think the usual tradition is to write it over the door. At least, that was the way we did it in the monastery back in the day.