“Everything this family does centers around food!” my uncle declared with a laugh. As he motioned with his arms to show our party of 15 seated at long tables taking up the entire center of the restaurant. That wasn’t really much of an “epiphany,” as much as it was simply the truth. It was the holidays, and like most families, we like to get together. And when we do, there is always food. Really GOOD food. And lots of it.
With that, I had to admit, not only do I consider myself a “foodie,” I love holidays and festivals. And if you know the background to most of them, they, not surprisingly, usually center around food.
Take today for instance. Did you know that today was Epiphany? Do you even know what that is? If not, rest assured, today, January 6, is a Feast Day. For those of you that follow this blog, you are aware that the 12 Days of Christmas actually began on Christmas Day. Yesterday, was the 12th Day. In tradition, today, the day after, is the day that the Wise Men found and called on the Baby Jesus.
Epiphany, in Greek, means “appearance”, “manifestation” and it is has been known for centuries as the Christian feast day which celebrates the revelation of God made Man in the person of Jesus Christ.
There is actually record of a sermon that was delivered on December 25, in the year 380, by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. In it, he referred to the day of Epiphany as ta theophania (“the Theophany”), saying that it was a day to commemorate the holy nativity of Christ.
In Italy, children, on the eve of January 6 fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad.
Over in France, people eat the g√Ęteau des Rois in Provence or the galette des Rois in other regions. This is a kind of king cake, with a trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king) or a bean hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes “king” for a day.
In a letter to her sister back in Massachusetts, Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams), recorded and wrote of one particular occasion in Paris where her family was eating a King Cake while excitedly looking for the bean (during their stay in France on behalf of America). The future President Adams got the bean that day much to the dismay of their son, John Quincy Adams.
For many of us, it’s not about the bean or the baby king. The word “epiphany” is what we have come to know as the word defined in Webster’s that means: a moment of sudden realization or insight.
Perhaps this bit of info today was an “epiphany” of sorts for you. If anything, the real epiphany for all of us is that we face the reality of a New Year. May it be a good showing, or appearance, in your life this year. And keep an eye on those feast days and holidays. You can be sure that I will do as much.
Best to you!
Stephanie