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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

By January 6, 2014

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...falls the feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, or Twelfth Night, the official end of the Christian holiday season. The feast is a celebration of the arrival of the Magi, or Three Wise Men, who followed a brilliant star which led them to the Christ child.

In many places, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Italy, gifts are given on this day rather than on Christmas Day.

According to Italian legend, La Befana, a kindly witch, is said to fly around on her broomstick on the evening of January 5th bringing gifts to worthy children and lumps of coal to the naughty ones.

In French custom, the Galette des Rois was baked to contain a bean and a pea. Those that got the slices containing them were designated king and queen for the day.

In Spain, Los Reyes is celebrated by baking a Roscon de Reyes, the traditional Twelfth Night Bread, which contains a few surprises as well!

The tradition is strong in New Orleans as well, where the brioche-style King Cake can be found in local bakeries from Twelfth Night until Ash Wednesday.

In Greece, the Epiphany is celebrated with a ceremony where a priest throws a large crucifix into the cold waters at Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens, and young men dive in to retrieve it.

In British custom, it is traditional to remove all Christmas decorations so as not to bring bad luck upon the home.

Here's wishing you a happy holiday, whatever name you want to give it!

Epiphany - Twelfth Night - Three Kings Day Puzzles

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