Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christmas Trees and Three Kings Day

My mom would have said that 2016 will be an "unlucky" year for me.  Today is January 6th, and I still have my Christmas tree up! She loved the Christmas season but always made sure to take our tree down before New Years as she jokingly said that it is bad luck to have it up in January.

But today is the day that most Slovaks take down their Christmas tree.  Today is the day of Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day.

"And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel." (Matthew 2:6 NLT)

This passage is taken from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2:1-12 which describes the visit of the magi or "wise men" to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem after he was born.  

Christians in Slovakia (and other Christians around the world) celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6th, which commemorates the visit of the magi to the Christ child and celebrates Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles.

There is a large community of Eastern Orthodox Christians in eastern Slovakia, and they celebrate Christmas Eve on January 6th and the birth of Jesus on January 7th rather than December 25th, the date of Jesus' birth according to the Gregorian calendar.  

Here in Slovakia the day is celebrated with worship services throughout the country, and this is the day that a lot of Slovaks take down their Christmas tree as the sign of the end of the Christmas season.  

I'm not sure if my 2016 will be unlucky...but it is nice to have a few more days to appreciate the beauty of our Christmas tree and to reflect on the true meaning of this season.  Now I have to go try to get the tree out of the house without getting sap on the couches and carpets!

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