Sunday, January 9, 2011

Epiphany - Twelfth Night

Unfortunately, because of on-going connection problems, I have not been able to post much this last week or so, so would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a belated Feast of the Epiphany, or Twelfth Night (6th January) - the day that in the Christian calendar traditionally signals the arrival of the Three Kings or Wise Men at the stable in Bethlehem.

During the Middle Ages scholars and heralds attributed Coats-of-Arms to many historical, supernatural and mythological figures, including, amongst others, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, the Archangels, Prester John, the Knights of the Round Table, even Satan had his blazon (Gules, a bend Or, three frogs proper Vert).

Shown here are the attributed arms of the Three Magi - Kings Melchior, Kaspar & Balthazar. I have also shown the Arms of the City of Cologne (Köln), where the tradition holds the remains of the Three Kings are buried and which to this day incorporates their three crowns in honour of that tradition.

In some countries, particularly Latin and Slavic cultures, January 6th is the date when children get a visit from the Magi and receive presents or sweets if they've been good - and lumps of coal if they have not!

Happy (belated) Epiphany!

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