Feast of the Epiphany

On the 12th and last day of Christmas, it is customary to take down Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations as a way of marking the end of the season.

Gathering all the Christmas trees together and making a bonfire of them has been understood in some places as a means to secure God’s blessing on the fruits of the earth.

For Christians, the day after the 12th day of Christmas is called the Feast of the Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. The gospel reading for this day tells the story of the Three Kings being guided by the star to the Christ child.

The symbol of light has been brought into the celebration of this feast at various times through the dramatic lighting of torches and candles, so that from early on it has been known informally as the “Feast of Lights.”

The bonfire made by the burning of the Christmas trees on the eve of Epiphany can be understood as a way of carrying on this tradition.