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Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas, falls on January 6 and marks the official end to the festive season for many Christians.
The ancient Christian feast day is significant as a celebration of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, as well as a more general celebration of his birth. The six Sundays which follow Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation.
The Twelfth Night (Epiphany) also marks a visit to the baby Jesus by The Magi, (also widely referred to as the three Kings, or Wise Men). The word 'Epiphany' comes from Greek and means 'manifestation'. It celebrates 'the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ'.
In the West, Christians began celebrating the Epiphany in the 4th century, associating it with the visit of the Wise Men to Jesus.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi found baby Jesus by following a star across the desert to Bethlehem.
The three wise men - named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar - followed the star of Bethlehem to meet the baby Jesus. According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The gifts were symbolic of the importance of Jesus' birth, the gold representing his royal standing; frankincense his divine birth; and myrrh his mortality.
During the medieval period, Christmas was celebrated for the 12 days from Christmas Eve on December 24, until the Epiphany. Even up until the 19th century, January 6 was as big a celebration as Christmas Day.