The assault on the U.S. Capitol
on the Feast of the Epiphany
January 6 – day of the Epiphany in bible, theatre, film, song, short story and now, insurrection
By Byron Toben
January 6, 2022
January 6, 2022, is the first anniversary of the riots in the U.S. Capitol being investigated by a special Congressional committee.
To my knowledge, no one else has called attention to the fact that that date is also the Western Christian – and Mormon – Feast of Epiphany or the twelfth day after Christmas (January 19 in the Eastern Orthodox calendar.) The term is roughly defined as “Revelation.” What may be revealed when the Congressional committee completes its report, we follow with great interest.
For now, a brief foray into the co-incidence of the epiphany with its significance in cultural history.
To my knowledge, no one else has called attention to the fact that that date is also the Western Christian – and Mormon – Feast of Epiphany or the twelfth day after Christmas…
Matthew’s Gospel refers to it as the day of Jesus’ baptism at the age of 30 by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan, where the Heavens opened up. Matthew also refers to the Three Kings (or wise men) from afar who followed a star to welcome the Christ child, revealed to them as a saviour.
John’s Gospel refers to it as Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana, where he turned water into wine.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, while not mentioning an epiphany other than the allusion in the title of the play, has been reviewed by others as relevant because of things being turned topsy-turvy – lots of cross-dressing and impersonation of the opposite sex and mistaken identities. (I reviewed Repercussion Theatre’s version of that play at its Theatre in the Park as my first ever piece for Westmount Mag in July 2015.)
Monty Python’s film Life of Brian famously had the three Kings mistakenly donating their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to next-door neighbour baby Brian and then grabbing back their gifts when the mistake was revealed.
We Three Kings Of Orient Are was composed in 1857 by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., a journalist, lawyer and music teacher, then acting as rector to an Episcopalian church in Pennsylvania. It was published in 1862 as a Christmas Carol and has become an international standard.
‘Despite efforts to suppress that publicity, if the actions of a few clumsy burglars at Watergate deserved such exposure, surely “that one day in January”, as former Vice President Pence down-played it after narrowly avoiding hanging, does as well.’
O. Henry’s classic short story, The Gift of the Magi, about the sacrifices of an impecunious young couple to pay for Christmas gifts revealed to each other, has become a seasonal standard on radio and in film as well as in print.
Hold onto your seat belts, dear readers, for the revelations to come as this long story unfolds, hopefully on prime-time television and social media. Despite efforts to suppress that publicity, if the actions of a few clumsy burglars at Watergate deserved such exposure, surely “that one day in January”, as former Vice President Pence down-played it after narrowly avoiding hanging, does as well. When will he have an epiphany?
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.