Epiphany is celebrated on 6 January in Sweden to commemorate the journey of the magi, or wise men, who followed a shining star to visit the infant Jesus as recorded in the Bible. This holiday falls 12 days after Christmas Day.
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Also known as Trettondag Jul, or “Thirteenth Day of Christmas”, Epihpany is a public holiday in Sweden as it is in neighbouring Finland. The other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark, do not celebrate it, however.
Although some are calling on cancelling Epiphany as a public holiday because it is “too religiously themed”, its roots go back centuries to the Middle Ages. In those days, boys would dress in white, don cone-shaped hats with stars on top, and put on Three Kings pageants from door to door. This “star boys” tradition is not usually followed anymore, but you may still see similar plays at special epiphany church or mass services.
This is the last day of the Christmas, or “Jul”, season in Sweden. It is a time to put on a big bang of a party so as to finish off the Yuletide right! Big family feasts are common, and most people can get off work if they wish. Some say there are too many holidays on the Swedish calendar and Epiphany needs to go, but it still remains too popular for this to happen.