Traditionally this feast is celebrated the 12th day after Christmas, January 6th, but this year, in the United States, this feast day has been moved to january 8th! Twelfth Night is a day of partying and feasting … lots and lots of feasting, lots and lots of partying and a day chock full of education that encompasses all 5 senses. The kids love this day almost as much as they do Christmas Morning. In the past we have invited friends, some Catholic, some Christian, some wandering souls looking for a hope and joy, but both this year and last we kept it small (ha ha) and it’s another of those “family” celebrations the Kellogg’s love.
We begin by telling the story of how the Kings followed the bright North Star and brought the real king, baby Jesus, gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. We talk about how long the journey took, how troubled and scary a trip it was, but how light and happy their hearts felt because they were filled with hope, joy and love. This year our three oldest will be the gift bearers and hand out the small gifts they each receive on this day. Next year I’m thinking we might do our Secret Santa gift exchange on Twelfth Night?? We could wrap the presents, put them all under the tree and await the arrival of the 3 Kings to Bethlehem … I love that idea.
At any rate, this year, after the presents are distributed and all the hoopla with that has ended we serve the traditional Kings Cake. Find the recipe here: http://catholiccuisine.blogspot.com/2010/01/king-cake-for-epiphany.html Kady, as our resident baker, will make the cake. We’ll top it with a crown of candy and in it we will hide 3 beans. The lucky kids who find the beans will be crowned the kings for the day and must be addressed as such, if not, if they forget … big trouble – there will be consequences!! =)
Now the Blessing of the Chalk and of the Home. This is my favorite part, it’s beautiful & the kids participate with awe. The Epiphany Inscription Over the Doorway of our Home will be as follows: 20+C+M+B+12 The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also abbreviate the Latin words “Christus mansionem benedicat.” “May Christ bless the house.” The numbers are the year on which the inscription is made.
The crosses represent the protection of the Precious Blood of Christ, whom we invoke, and the holiness of the Three Magi sanctified by their adoration of the Infant Christ. The inscription is made above the front door, so that all who enter and depart this year may enjoy God’s blessing.
To bless your home this Epiphany, read the Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel, followed by the Our Father, and the Collect of the Epiphany; then write the inscription for this year above your front door with blessed chalk, (you can do this yourself or some parishes bless chalk, water and incense on Epiphany Sunday.
The process is as follows:
Upon entering your home:
Peace be to this house.
And to all who dwell herein.
From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. LIGHT THE INCENSE
LEADER: Let us pray. Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, peace, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Creator and to Jesus the Christ and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.
After the prayers of the blessing are recited, walk through the house and bless each room by sprinkling with Holy water and incensing it.
Take the blessed chalk and first write the initials of the three Wise Men, connected with Crosses, over the inside of your front door. Then write the year, breaking up the numbers and the year so that they fall on both sides of the initials. It should look like this, for 2012.:
20 C+M+B 12
Have a very Merry Twelfth Night … God Bless Each and Every One of You!!