Epiphany or Twelfth Night

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Epiphany and Twelfth Night are two expressions that refer to the same thing. We will examine the definition of the terms Epiphany and Twelfth Night, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Epiphany is a religious feast day that is celebrated on January sixth. It is traditionally the the day that the Magi visited the Christ child, signaling the revelation of God incarnate to the Gentiles. Epiphany may mean the liturgical season that lasts from Christmas until Ash Wednesday, also known as Epiphanytide. Note that the word Epiphany, when used to refer to the religious feast day or liturgical season, is capitalized.

Twelfth Night is another name for the day of Epiphany. It is so named because it is the twelfth night of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Twelfth Night is the setting of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Note that Twelfth Night is also capitalized, as it is the name of a holiday.


According to the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, three historical traditions of the Epiphany include baking a “Kings’ Cake,” marking a door lintel with the Magi’s blessing, and participating in worship with lighted candles. (The Marietta Times)

Created to celebrate Epiphany — the day the Three Kings (les rois) brought gifts to the infant Jesus — the galette is beloved throughout northern France (in the south, they make a brioche cake, a gâteau des rois that resembles a New Orleans king cake). (The New York Times)

Twelfth Night is the day that you are traditionally meant to take down your Christmas decorations, marking the end of the twelve days of the Christmas period. (The Plymouth Herald)