We’ve not really celebrated epiphany before; usually, the decorations are down before new year and everything is back to normal by the time the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. This year, though, one of the things I want to do is make more of an effort to celebrate traditional holidays and seasonal events, so we’re starting now!

Also known as twelfth night, epiphany is the day the Kings arrived with Jesus – historically, it was more important than Christmas Day, and during medieval and Tudor periods people would celebrate with feasts, wassailing and baking. Locals need not fear, we’re not going to be roaming the streets tomorrow night crooning, but we are going to be eating plenty of epiphany cake and packing the decorations away (bye tree! *sniff*) Here are some other ideas for things you could do to celebrate first night if, like us, your singing voice isn’t up to scratch:

  • Bake an epiphany cake – more like a brioche-type-bread, traditionally these are ring shaped to represent a crown, and are decorated with crystallised fruits. (I couldn’t find any crystallised fruits, so I’m going with candied peel and glace cherries – I’m sure it’s all much the same!) I’m going to be following Nigel Slater’s recipe from the Guardian, but there are plenty floating about online.

  • Pack away your decorations – if you’ve not already done it, make an evening of it with a post-Christmas drink (I love a sherry, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!) and a slab of the epiphany cake. 

  • Fill the room with candles – Christmas might be over and done with, but the evenings are still cold and dark, so brighten things up by dotting beeswax candles around and basking in their golden glow.

  • Cook up a feast – if you’re keen on all things culinary (we all know I’m not!), organise a small dinner party for close friends or family. Adele, who writes the Circus Queen blog, told me that she bakes ‘Three Kings Pie’ for her family, which is filled with mushrooms, potatoes and star anise (yum!), while pastries, cake and sweets are all very much acceptable additions to the dinner table.


  1. Michelle
    January 5, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Epiphany in Italy is still quite a big thing. I was confused the first year we were here (in Italy) and there where witches on brooms everywhere. I thought they had a late halloween, but it turns out they have a character called Bafana who is an old lady who was asked by the wise men if she wanted to come with but was too busy cleaning to join them, realised later she missed out on Jesus and now delivers sweets to children on epiphany! Gotta love it.

    • Victoria Haynes
      January 5, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Hahaha! I love it! I was reading an article online today about ways different countries celebrate, and in the Ukraine it's traditional to go swimming because water is supposed to be sacred. Absolutely freezing!

  2. Jenny Ripatti-Taylor
    January 8, 2016 / 11:40 am

    I love the idea of going back and celebrating Epiphany I havent done it before but I have heard more of it this year and maybe it will come back to being big again. Great list to do on the last day of Christmas. Just found your lovely blog in heaven catching up. Happy New Year.

  3. Anonymous
    January 9, 2016 / 10:59 am

    What a lovely idea! Traditionally Germans (like my mum) take down Christmas decorations on Epiphany, but we've never made a celebration out of it. I think we will henceforth.

Leave a Reply