Restore Epiphany To Its Original Jan. 6 Date

Ever since the date of Epiphany was changed (about 40 years ago), I have felt the solemnity should be changed back to it’s traditional Jan. 6 date. Instead of the first Sunday in January, the date should never have been changed.

My reasons for this are several:

First, the twelve (12) days of Christmas extend from Christmas (Dec. 25) to Epiphany Jan. 6). An earlier or later date changes the tradional 12 days of Christmas.

Second, Epiphany was actually celebrated by Christians before Christmas and thus January 6 is just as important a date as Dec. 25. One would never think of changing Christmas to a Sunday, so why alter Epiphany’s date??

Third, many countries not only celebrate Epiphany as a Holyday, but actually a legal holiday. Many Europ-ean countries (France, Italy, Spain) celebrate this holiday with more importance than Christmas and it is a holy day of obligation as well. Some do not exchange their gifte until Jan. 6.

Lastly, I feel the Catholic church should consider returning the Feast to its original date. I also think i should be a holy day of obligation, replacing Jan. 1 (The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God). Mary, Mother of God could be celebrated one of two ways:

This feast can be changed and celebrated on the Sunday when Epiphany would have been celebrated. (Except if Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday, then it would be stay there.) Or keep it on Jan. 1 and not make it a holiday. However, I am leaning toward the first way. I am not saying that the Solemnity of Mary is not important, but Epiphany is a more trditional feast celebrated by Christians of all faiths. The Solemnity of Mary is Strictly a Catholic feast which was created in the calander rerform of 1969. It was formerly called the feast of the Circumcision.

I realize Jan. 6 could never be a legal holiday in the United States, but the Catholic church could recognize the feast with much greated importance by restoring it’s original date and making it a holy day of obligation.

Any comments or opinions on this matter?? Thank you.

I would also prefer it to be on the 6th.


I feel the same way. It just seems like it’s less sacred, and less symbolic to me in my opinion. I also think Ascension should be brought back to being on a Thursday instead of being transfered to the next Sunday!
It just doesn’t make sense! Neither one of them! Haha.
But I guess I’m just a traditionalist at heart :shrug: . But I wouldn’t hold my breath for them to change the date back when, I think it’s safe to say,the majority of American Catholics don’t even know what Epiphany is.

yes yes yes!

While I actually agree with you, I would point out that in the United States the obligation to attend Mass on Epiphany was removed in 1884 so for many years Catholics who only attended Mass on weekends and Holy Days would not have been to Mass on Epiphany (unless January 6th fell on a Sunday). Moving the commemoration of Epiphany to Sunday may have been an important step TOWARD emphasizing the importance of the solemnity.

While I don’t usually do this, I have to ask for a source. I suppose it’s possible that age could have the better of my memory, but I could swear that January 6th was observed as a Holy Day in the Latin Church (at least in the Archdiocese of New York) in pre-Novus Ordo calendar days.

What I am saying is that Jan. 6 should be the Holy day of Obligation, not Jan. 1.

And Ascensionnnnnnnn.

See Old Catholic Encyclopedia

…In the United States, the number of feasts was not everywhere the same; the Council of Baltimore wanted only four feasts, but the decree was not approved by Rome; the third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884), by a general law, retained six feasts: Christmas, New Year’s Day, Ascension, Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, and All Saints. Sts. Peter and Paul and Corpus Christi were transferred to the next following Sunday…


Thank you for the quotes, Joe!

While I agree we should celebrate the feats on the actual day, the reality of it is, that if we do few if any people will bother coming to mass. Unfortunately Holy Days of obligation don’t mean much to people anymore. At least with moving the feast to a Sunday people are there. In my parish we have a usual Sunday attendance of about 500. On Holy Days not on Sunday maybe 50. People just don’t get it.

This is just conjecture… I’d guess that regional areas where Italians and Hispanics made up a large percentage of the population were areas where there was special emphasis placed on the Epiphany of the Lord.

I have the sense that Irish American Catholics have long celebrated December 25th as a joint Christmas and Epiphany all rolled into one.

(I can’t really speak for other Catholic cultures in the United States.)

When January 1 was celebrated as the Feast of the Cicumcision, it was a high priority. It commemorated the first time Jesus shed His Blood for us. With its devolution to celebrating Mary, Mother of God, or World Peace, or whatever, it has lost that uniqueness.

I must agree with you cspb56. The attendance on holy days has gone down dramaticly in recent years. With the exception of Christmas, the attendance at my church on holy days is very low. This is very sad!!

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