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Quiz about Epiphany History Hymns and Traditions
Quiz about Epiphany History Hymns and Traditions

Epiphany: History, Hymns, and Traditions Quiz


Test your knowledge of this Christian holiday.

A multiple-choice quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
skylarb
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
404,082
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
14 / 20
Plays
359
- -
Question 1 of 20
1. In Western Christianity, what event does Epiphany primarily commemorate? Hint


Question 2 of 20
2. In Eastern Christianity, what event does Epiphany primarily commemorate? Hint


Question 3 of 20
3. On which of these days is Epiphany most commonly celebrated in Western Christianity? Hint


Question 4 of 20
4. Which of the following is NOT another name that has sometimes been used for Epiphany? Hint


Question 5 of 20
5. Matthew, which tells the story of the magi, says, "And when they were come into the ____, they saw the _____ with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him." What words are missing from these blanks in the King James Version of the Bible? Hint


Question 6 of 20
6. Tradition gives names to the three kings. Which of the following is a traditional name of one of the magi? Hint


Question 7 of 20
7. One Epiphany tradition in some areas is to eat king cake. At what other time of the year is king cake commonly eaten? Hint


Question 8 of 20
8. In England, on Epiphany, youth and children often walk from house to house singing. What do they traditionally carry with them? Hint


Question 9 of 20
9. Which of the following songs is a Lutheran hymn for Epiphany written by Georg Weissel? Hint


Question 10 of 20
10. In which century do we find the earliest explicit reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast? Hint


Question 11 of 20
11. What Epiphany hymn contains the chorus "O Star of Wonder, Star of Night, / Star with Royal Beauty bright, / Westward leading, / Still proceeding, / Guide us to Thy perfect Light"? Hint


Question 12 of 20
12. In tradition, the three gifts of the magi are often regarded to have a spiritual meaning. What is the myrrh typically thought to symbolize? Hint


Question 13 of 20
13. In some parts of the world, during Epiphany, the initials of the three magi are written over the doors of churches and homes as a blessing. What is traditionally used to write these initials? Hint


Question 14 of 20
14. What British poet wrote the Epiphany hymn "As with gladness, men of old" on Epiphany in 1859? Hint


Question 15 of 20
15. In tradition, the three kings are often depicted as traveling on three different animals. Which is NOT typically one of those animals? Hint


Question 16 of 20
16. In which of these countries is it a tradition for children to write a letter to the magi with their wishes and then leave their shoes out to be filled on Epiphany Eve, along with grass and water to feed the camels of the visiting magi? Hint


Question 17 of 20
17. In Italian folklore, what old woman rides a broomstick through the air to deliver gifts to children on Epiphany Eve? Hint


Question 18 of 20
18. In what country, where Epiphany is known as Bogoyavlenie, does a priest throw a wooden cross into a frigid body of water so young men can race to retrieve it? Hint


Question 19 of 20
19. What American short story writer penned a famous tale about giving titled "The Gift of the Magi"? Hint


Question 20 of 20
20. T.S. Eliot's poem "Journey of the Magi" ends: "We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, / But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, / With an alien people clutching their ____." What were the people clutching? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In Western Christianity, what event does Epiphany primarily commemorate?

Answer: The visit of the magi to the Christ child

The Feast of Epiphany in the Western church is a commemoration of the visit of the magi (or wise men) to the Christ child after following his star to find him. This in turn represents the physical manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles, as the magi were not Jewish. The story of the magi is told in the Gospel of Matthew.
2. In Eastern Christianity, what event does Epiphany primarily commemorate?

Answer: The baptism of Jesus

Eastern Christianity also celebrates Epiphany as Jesus's manifestation to the Gentiles, but in this case, the pivotal event in which Jesus shows himself to the whole world is during his baptism in the River Jordan. In that event, the Holy Trinity is revealed as Jesus is called "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17) by God and the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove.

The celebration is called The Feast of the Holy Theophany.
3. On which of these days is Epiphany most commonly celebrated in Western Christianity?

Answer: January 6th

Epiphany falls at the conclusion of the twelve days of Christmas in Western Christianity, which begin on December 25th. "Twelfth Night" is Epiphany Eve. Thus, Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on January 6th. However, some churches hold it on whichever Sunday first falls after January 1. (For 2021, this would be Sunday, January 3rd.) Many Eastern churches celebrate Epiphany on what is January 19th in the Gregorian calendar (but January 6th in the Julian calendar).
4. Which of the following is NOT another name that has sometimes been used for Epiphany?

Answer: Plough Monday

The holiday of Epiphany is sometimes called "Three Kings Day" in the Western church in reference to the three magi (wise men or gentile kings) of tradition who visited Jesus. While the Bible does not say how many magi there actually were or where they came from (other than "the East"), they are traditionally numbered at three because of the three gifts they give Jesus.

In Irish tradition, Epiphany is sometimes called Little Christmas or Women's Christmas or Women's Little Christmas or Old Christmas. The reason it is called Old Christmas is because upon the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, Christmas Day on December 25th fell eleven days earlier than "Old Christmas" on the old style calendar, which would fall on January 5th of the new calendar.

Plough Monday, a term that originated in England, is the first Monday *after* Epiphany and is generally regarded as the start of the agricultural new year.
5. Matthew, which tells the story of the magi, says, "And when they were come into the ____, they saw the _____ with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him." What words are missing from these blanks in the King James Version of the Bible?

Answer: house, young child

Though manger scenes often locate the magi with the shepherds at the manager, in fact in Matthew they were not depicted as finishing their journey until Jesus was a "young child" and had settled in a house. At the time they visited Jesus, however, he would not have been more than two years old, according to Matthew, because Herod had only the children under two slaughtered when he was attempting to kill the newborn king.
6. Tradition gives names to the three kings. Which of the following is a traditional name of one of the magi?

Answer: Balthazar

Tradition gives names to the three kings: Gaspar (sometimes rendered Caspar or Jaspar or Gaspard), Melchior, and Balthazar. In Spanish tradition, each king represents a different continent: Asia (Caspar), Africa (Balthasar), and Europe (Melchior). In other traditions, Melchior is said to be from Persia, Gaspar from India, and Balthazar from Arabia.
7. One Epiphany tradition in some areas is to eat king cake. At what other time of the year is king cake commonly eaten?

Answer: Mardi Gras

King cake (or Three Kings Cake) is often eaten on Mardi Gras (also knowns as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, which kicks off the Lenten period of fasting. A small figurine, often of a baby Jesus, is hidden in the cake. The entire period between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is considered the "season for king cake." Initially, king cake consisted of a dry dough topped with sugar and a bean hidden inside, but the cake now comes in various forms.
8. In England, on Epiphany, youth and children often walk from house to house singing. What do they traditionally carry with them?

Answer: A star on a rod

Sometimes they also dress as the three wise men and wear crowns. This tradition of "Epiphany singers" or "star singers" has its roots in a medieval ecclesiastical play that told the story of the magi from Matthew. Versions of this tradition have occurred in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Scotland as well.
9. Which of the following songs is a Lutheran hymn for Epiphany written by Georg Weissel?

Answer: Nun liebe Seel, nun ist es Zeit

"O Tannebaum" translates to "O Christmas Tree" and is a Christmas carol more than an Epiphany carol. "Nun liebe Seel, nun ist es Zeit" ("Now, dear soul, now it is time") by Gerog Weiseel is a Lutheran Epiphany hymn that was first printed in 1642. Johann Sebastian Bach used the last stanza of this hymn in his "Christmas Oratorio."
10. In which century do we find the earliest explicit reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast?

Answer: 4th century

In about A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria referred to an early Gnostic sect celebrating Christ's baptism around the time of Epiphany, which may indicate that some form of Epiphany observation was in existence at that time. However, the first explicit mention of an Epiphany feast being celebrated by Christians comes in A.D. 361 from in the writings of Roman soldier and historian Ammianus Marcellinus.
11. What Epiphany hymn contains the chorus "O Star of Wonder, Star of Night, / Star with Royal Beauty bright, / Westward leading, / Still proceeding, / Guide us to Thy perfect Light"?

Answer: We Three Kings of Orient Are

"We Three Kings of Orient Are" was originally titled "Three Kings of Orient" and was written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania, in 1857. The song contains verses sung by each of the three kings as they present their gifts to the Christ child, and it is often sung during Epiphany pageants in Anglican/Episcopal churches in America.

"O come, O come, Emmanuel" is traditionally sung during the Advent season, not during Epiphany, in expectation of the arrival of the Christ child.
12. In tradition, the three gifts of the magi are often regarded to have a spiritual meaning. What is the myrrh typically thought to symbolize?

Answer: Jesus's death

The gold, being a common color of kings (think gold crowns) represents Jesus's earthly kingship. The frankincense is taken to represent either his divinity or priesthood, as frankincense was used in temple routines by the priests. Myrrh represents his eventual death and suffering, as myrrh is a type of embalming oil. In the carol "We Three Kings", the king offering Jesus the myrrh sings:

"Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb."
13. In some parts of the world, during Epiphany, the initials of the three magi are written over the doors of churches and homes as a blessing. What is traditionally used to write these initials?

Answer: chalk

Chalk is typically used for this tradition, which is known as "chalking the door." The door might also be chalked with the numbers for the year, or with a cross symbol, interspersing the initials. The initials CMB (for Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) might also be considered to double as an abbreviation for Christus mansionem benedicat, which means, "May Christ bless the house."
14. What British poet wrote the Epiphany hymn "As with gladness, men of old" on Epiphany in 1859?

Answer: William Chatterton Dix

William Chatterton Dix was named after Thomas Chatterton, a British poet who committed suicide at the age of 17 and who would inspire the works of Romantic poets such as Keats and Shelley. William's father, John Dix, who also went by John Ross, wrote a biography of Chatterton and named his son after him. The song begins:

"As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most gracious God, may we
Evermore be led to Thee."
15. In tradition, the three kings are often depicted as traveling on three different animals. Which is NOT typically one of those animals?

Answer: donkey

The different animals are meant to represent the different regions of the East from which the three kings come. Nativity sets will sometimes depict all of the magi on camels, but others will use a camel, a horse, and an elephant. Some use all horses.

A donkey is not typically considered an animal fit for a king to ride, which is why Jesus choosing to ride one during his entry into Jerusalem symbolizes his humility in accepting his fate of mockery and crucifixion.
16. In which of these countries is it a tradition for children to write a letter to the magi with their wishes and then leave their shoes out to be filled on Epiphany Eve, along with grass and water to feed the camels of the visiting magi?

Answer: Argentina

Children set their shoes by the door to be filled by the magi with candy or small gifts. The grass and water is for the camels (or other pack animals) of the three kings. The eve of Epiphany is called "Noche de Reyes" (the night of the kings) in Argentina. This tradition is also observed in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Mexico City.
17. In Italian folklore, what old woman rides a broomstick through the air to deliver gifts to children on Epiphany Eve?

Answer: Befana

If the children are good, Befana will put candy in their socks. If the children are bad, she'll put in a lump of coal or perhaps a stick. She might sweep up the house while she visits before she moves on. In folklore, Befana gave the three kings lodging for the night during their journey to follow the star.

After they left, she regretted not joining them on their journey, and so to this day, she continues in search of the baby.
18. In what country, where Epiphany is known as Bogoyavlenie, does a priest throw a wooden cross into a frigid body of water so young men can race to retrieve it?

Answer: Bulgaria

Bogoyavlenie means "Manifestation of God." Sometimes January 6 is called Yordanovden in Bulgaria, meaning "Day of Jordan", the river in which Jesus was baptized.

On Epiphany in Finland, celebrants often prepare star-shaped Finnish gingerbread cookies. A cookie is placed in the palm of the hand, and the celebrant makes a wish while breaking it.
19. What American short story writer penned a famous tale about giving titled "The Gift of the Magi"?

Answer: O. Henry

O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi" is actually set on Christmas Eve, but it makes an appearance in this quiz because of its title, which recalls the great lengths the magi went to in order to bring their gifts to Jesus. Similarly, in O. Henry's story, a young husband and wife go to great lengths to sacrifice for one another to give gifts - the husband sells his prized watch to buy her a comb for her hair, and she sells her prized hair to buy him a chain for his watch.

In the end, the gift they give each other is love.
20. T.S. Eliot's poem "Journey of the Magi" ends: "We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, / But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, / With an alien people clutching their ____." What were the people clutching?

Answer: gods

The poem is told from the perspective of one of the magi, and it entertwines themes of Christ's birth with his death. It begins by describing the difficulty of the journey and expressing a longing for their comfortable homes:

"And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet."

It ends, however, with a return to home in which home no longer seems the same because the mage has been forever changed by his encounter with the Christ child:

"We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death."
Source: Author skylarb

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor looney_tunes before going online.
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