NEWTONIA — For a decade now, Virginia Habecker has hosted a unique event at her home in Newtonia for family and friends.
"This is the 10th anniversary of my epiphany party, my 12th night party," she said. "The 6th of January is the date that historically is believed that the Magi (wise men) found the Child Jesus, He was not the baby anymore. That was in our lessons today in church. To us Lutherans and I am not for sure what other denominations, it is very important."
It is one of the oldest Christian feasts, celebrated since the end of the second century, before the Christmas holiday was established. Commonly known as Twelfth Night, Twelfth Day, Three Kings' Day, or the Feast of Epiphany, it means "manifestation" or "showing forth."
This year, Habecker's epiphany party was held on Sunday – actually the second time in the last 10 years that it had been observed on Sunday. It started at 6 p.m.
Habecker, who is from the east coast, never hosted this party from her former home.
"My church back east – Tree of Life Lutheran Church, I was a charter member, a couple who were members of our choir had done it," she said. "Then when I moved out here, I thought that would be something nice to do. So I had attended 12th night parties, but I had never hosted them."
Around 10 people attended the event and brought food and other refreshments.
"I moved here in July 2003, so the first one was July 2004," she said. "It has just become a tradition here in our little neighborhood. I am very grateful and very thankful that people do look forward to it. The first couple of years I think I did everything (make the food and refreshments) because I wanted to do that just because. After that, everyone said 'what can I bring?'"
The event included food and socializing.
She noted that she enjoys hosting the event.
"I joke about the only reasons on Sunday that I will excuse people is to go to church or if they are dead," Habecker said. "Death and church are the only two excuses that I will accept."
She has thought about expanding the event to go outside of her home.
"I have even considered renting the Newtonia Community Building," Habecker said. "If I could do that, then I could invite my Sunday Bible school."