Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Epiphany-The Arrival of the Three Kings

Epiphany means appearance and it is claimed that on this occasion Christ was revealed as divine to the Gentiles. On Christmas Eve, the Kings are moving closer to Bethlehem and when they finally arrive, they offer their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Originally, January sixth commemorated Christ's baptism. Twelfth Night or the Eve of Epiphany was originally a pagan celebration.

Gold stars are an appropriate symbol. If you have a Twelfth Night Feast, light candles and burn resins with spices. Adelma Simmons talks about it in her book, A Merry Christmas Herbal She says that myrrh burned alone has a bitter acrid odor but when it is combined with the sweeter resin of frankincense it is most pleasant. As the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews knew, the proportion should be approximately six frankincense to one of myrrh. Burn over low heat. Put an ember from the fire on a hearth shovel and shake the incense sparingly over it, then let it burn on the hearth. Don't allow it to flame.

At Caprilands, Adelma's home, they had a masquerade party. They had wassail to drink, a roast beef as a main course and a traditional Twelfth-Night cake. Hope they still carry on the tradition!


Rosemary said...

I can still remember the day my mom decided to burn Frankincense and Myrrh. She used an old tin can, and placed it on the electric stovetop. The 'fragrance' filled the house... brought me down from the second floor inquiring 'what is that smell?'. I don't know what ratio she burned, but I don't believe I can describe it as pleasant. It was certainly powerful, and it is a fragrance you don't quickly forget.

lemonverbenalady said...

It's so nice to hear your stories about your mom, Nancy. I wished I had had your childhood! Thanks for stopping by.