FEAST OF EPIPHANY
by Jnana Hodson
Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, also celebrated as the Feast of Epiphany, drawing the nativity observances to a close. In Eastern Orthodox custom, it’s the day Christmas presents are distributed, an acknowledgement of the arrival of the Three Sages from afar some time after the birth of the Christ Child.
In our circle, the Feast of the Epiphany also means reassembling in one household, lugging along the gingerbread houses we made during Advent. Somewhere after the more traditional conventions, like the storytelling and singing and, especially, the Cake of the Three Kings with its three almonds, we arrive at the grand finale – the smashing of the gingerbread houses. Using a mallet or a hammer, the kids go at their surprisingly strong structures, reducing them to pieces.
There’s a tasty reason for their madness – all the candy used as decoration is now theirs for the taking. Meanwhile, the rubble of gingerbread and icing will go outdoors as a treat for the squirrels and other wildlife. It doesn’t take long for a squirrel to go running up a tree trunk with a side of a house securely in its jaws.
Already, some participants are planning next year’s gingerbread mansions.