You might know the story of the word Eureka. Or at least that it involves an old man in a bath. The ancient Greek scholar Archimedes reportedly stepped into his bath, noticed the water level rose. Realising that the water displaced must be equal to the volume of his foot, and that he had figured out a way to accurately measure the volume of irregular objects (which was a big deal at the time), he exclaimed Eureka! twice.
In most Christian traditions, today is the last day of Christmas. The most common name for this day is The Epiphany (meaning a moment of sudden realisation or revelation). It’s so called because it was believed to be the day that Jesus revealed his divinity, when the three magi arrived to see him.
As well as religious celebrations, the day is marked in different ways around the world. If you’re lucky enough to be Spanish or Italian, you might get extra gifts on 5th or 6th January. Despite the various traditions throughout Continental Europe though, in the UK and Ireland, we don’t do too much to celebrate the end of Christmas, unless you count taking down the tree and decorations. For most people here, the Christmas period lasts until New Year’s Day, and then life for most people goes back to normal. At least when I was a child the school holidays didn’t end until the 6th (although that changed a few years ago) and I could still enjoy the first few days of January playing with my new toys, though there was always a creeping dread as it got closer to going-back-to-school time.
In the past though, the Epiphany was quite a big deal. Continue reading