What’s Epiphany and Why is it Important to Louisiana, Mardi Gras?
Epiphany is a Christian holiday celebrated annually on January 6th, but what is it all about, and what does it have to do with Mardi Gras?
According to Metro, Epiphany marks the official end of Christmas and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Metro also says that 'while the Catholic Church marks the Epiphany for one day, many protestants mark ‘the season of the Epiphany’ from January 6 up until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.'
In the olden days Christmas wasn’t just a one-day event – it was actually celebrated for 12 days. This began on Christmas Eve, December 24, and was celebrated every day up until the Epiphany. The 12 days begin on Christmas Day. That means that January 5th was celebrated just as much as Christmas Day itself. This was the tradition from the medieval period up until the 19th century. Nowadays the Twelfth Night is when we are meant to put away our Christmas decorations to avoid bad luck for the year ahead.
So if you've ever wondered whether Mardi Gras had anything to do with Christianity, there's your answer. While 12th Night is the traditional kick-off to Mardi Gras and is celebrated on January 5th, locally, we celebrate 12th Night on the first Saturday of the new year.
Another event that signals the spiritual beginning of Mardi Gras in northwest Louisiana is Mardi Gras Mass at St. Pius X hosted by the Krewe of Gemini. Mass begins at 9 am and is followed by a reception featuring coffee and king cake. The event is free and open to the public. St. Pius X is located at 4300 North Market Street in Shreveport.