For many years our family has celebrated Epiphany, and celebrated BIG! In fact, it’s one of the religious holy days that my children look forward to all year long. Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after the birth of Christ, thus concluding the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s also called “Three Kings Day” or Los Tres Reyes Magos in Spanish-speaking countries, where it is often held dear. Epiphany is derived from the Greek word epiphaneia, or manifestation. In the case of the Epiphany we celebrate in the Church, it is the manifestation of the second Person of the Trinity in the Christ child, beheld by the magi (Gentiles) who were led to him by a star. 


Traditional House Blessing


The celebration often begins with Mass and the blessing of chalk. This blessed chalk is then taken home and used to bless the home at the start of the Epiphany festivities. Here is a picture of my husband writing the blessing above our front door with chalk as our toddler watches. 

The letters C, M, B are printed within the current year. For example here, 20+C+M+B+24 for the year 2024. This is often remembered by the names of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but more appropriately, it represents the Latin blessing Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless this house.” 

This is such a wonderful tradition for your children to observe, especially with the father of the home leading the blessing and family and friends gathered around to share in the immediate blessing of your home with their presence. There are many blessings you can use, but I have included the one we use below.


Blessing of the Home at Epiphany

Leader: Peace be to this house.
All: And to all who live here.
Leader: Bless, O Lord, this household and family, and allow all of us who live in this home to find in it a shelter of peace and health. Inspire each of us to develop our individual talents and to contribute wisdom and good works for the benefit of the whole family. Make our house a haven for us all, and a place of warmth and caring for all our friends who come to visit us. Enlighten us with the brilliance of your Epiphany star, so that, as we go into the world, we might clearly see our way to You and discover You in our work and play. This we ask to your glory and in the power of your kingship. 
All: For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory now and forever, Amen.

After the blessing, we welcome in our three kings, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (We usually draw straws each year and as our celebration has grown this is sometimes played by girls and sometimes there are additional members such as camels at the door.)

The wise men are the guests of honor in our home, which is a simple home in Bethlehem. They process in singing “We Three Kings” and we pretend to be amazed by these strange and wealthy guests and ask why they have come to Bethlehem. We ask if they have told Herod about the baby they seek and what they make of the bright star. We also want to know the meaning of the three gifts they have chosen for this child king.

The kids always have a blast staying in character as they are treated as royalty and made the center of attention. They often get to drink juice out of wine glasses and use fancy dinnerware. 

A big meal, often traditionally Spanish, is served as we welcome family and friends to fill our table with good conversation and fellowship. This is truly a highlight of Epiphany, as sharing a meal together is such a symbolic and scriptural way to commemorate a new year in Christ. 

Let’s not forget the King Cake! This is the traditional cake braided to look like a king’s crown. But be careful when you take a bite because somewhere hidden within the cake is a small plastic baby. This represents the baby Jesus that the Magi were seeking. The lucky person who finds the baby in their cake can expect an erruption of singing “For he/she’s a jolly good fellow” and they can try their hand at making the cake next year. Also, Jesus has come to them in a special way, and they can remember that all year long!

The cake itself is delicious, with a rich brioche dough and fillings such as cinnamon, chocolate, cream cheese, and raspberry jam. The cake is then glazed with Mardi Gras colors: green, gold, and purple. We always put our three kings in the center of the cake as an added touch.

Here is my new favorite King Cake recipe: Mardi Gras King Cake

The feast of Epiphany ends with all gathered around a blazing fire with warm drinks in hand as we sing Christmas carols. This is truly the culmination of the Christmas joy, shared with all. If you’ve never celebrated this feast, I encourage you to give it a try. 

Kimberly Cook

Writer, Podcaster, Mother, & Catholic Apologist. Meet Kimberly