Most Non-Christians hardly know that Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Christians have several festivals other than Christmas that are equally important. "Epiphany" is one of them. It is one of the earliest and extremely popular Christian feast which is traditionally observed on 6th January each year. The festival happens exactly on the twelfth night after Christmas.
The word “Epiphany” is derived from the Latin word “epiphania” meaning “manifestation”.
In Western Christianity, Epiphany commemorates the revelation of baby Jesus’ divine nature to the three wise men
(Magi) named Melchior
Balthasar coming from the East carrying frankincense, myrr, and gold as gifts for Mary’s child.
Hence, "Three Kings Day" is another name for Epiphany. Thus, the legend of Magi visiting baby Christ in the manger of Bethlehem? gave birth to the tradition of presenting gift at Christmas.
In Eastern Christianity, Epiphany is recognized as the auspicious day when Jesus was baptised by John and he (Christ) revealed his true identity to the world as God's own Son.
Some churches commemorate Epiphany as the day when Christ manifested his miraculous divinity by turning water into wine. For most Protestants, the period of Epiphany starts on 6 January and continues till Ash Wednesday, which marks the period of Lent leading to Easter.
In all Spanish-speaking countries, Epiphany festival is known as ‘Fiesta de los tres Reyes Mages’ meaning "The Celebration of Three Magic Kings".
The festive day is reserved for exchanging gifts and partying. Most Christmas gifts are opened on the day of Epiphany.
Kids and children are encouraged to write letter to the kings for new toys and goodies. On the festive eve, children put their shoes under the Christmas tree, balconies, or on windowsills to get their wishes fulfilled.