What is Epiphany and What is It’s Significance in Louisiana?
Epiphany is a Christian holiday celebrated around the world and marks the end of the Christmas season, but it also has special significance here in Louisiana.
Do you know what Epiphany is and why It's important in Louisiana?
Epiphany is a Christian holiday celebrated annually on January 6th, but what is it all about, and what does it have to do with Mardi Gras?
According to Metro, Epiphany marks the official end of Christmas and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Metro also says that 'while the Catholic Church marks the Epiphany for one day, many protestants mark ‘the season of the Epiphany’ from January 6 up until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.' We're big fans of Epiphany because we celebrate it BIG in Louisiana. Hello? Mardi Gras season, anyone?
What is 12th Night?
In the olden days Christmas wasn’t just a one-day event – it was actually celebrated for 12 days. This began on Christmas Eve, December 24, and was celebrated every day up until the Epiphany. The 12 days begin on Christmas Day. That means that January 5th was celebrated just as much as Christmas Day itself. This was the tradition from the medieval period up until the 19th century. Nowadays the Twelfth Night is when we are meant to put away our Christmas decorations to avoid bad luck for the year ahead.
So if you've ever wondered whether Mardi Gras had anything to do with Christianity, there's your answer. While 12th Night is the traditional kick-off to Mardi Gras and is celebrated on either January 5th or 6th, depending on which day you start counting, locally, we generally celebrate 12th Night on the first Saturday of the new year. This year, those things just happen to line up and we'll be celebrating Saturday, January 6th, at the Bossier Civic Center.
Another event that signals the spiritual beginning of Mardi Gras in northwest Louisiana is Mardi Gras Mass at St. Pius X hosted by the Krewe of Gemini. Mass begins at 9 am this Saturday, January 6th, 2024, and is followed by a reception featuring coffee and king cake. The event is free and open to the public. St. Pius X is located at 4300 North Market Street in Shreveport.
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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells