Happy feast of the Epiphany!

My fifth baby was born on this date, and today he turns 9 — I’ve always loved that he was born on the feast of the Epiphany!

Our pastor read this at Mass on Sunday, which I’d never heard before:

Later legends have been busy with the wise men. In the early days eastern tradition said that there were twelve of them. But now the tradition that there were three is almost universal. The New Testament does not say that there were three, but the idea that there were three no doubt arose from the threefold gift which they brought.

Later legend made them kings. And still later legend gave them names, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Still later legend assigned to each a personal description, and distinguished the gift which each of them gave to Jesus. Melchior was an old man, grey haired, and with a long beard, and it was he who brought the gift of gold. Caspar was young and beardless, and ruddy in countenance, and it was he who brought the gift of frankincense. Balthasar was swarthy, with the beard newly grown upon him, and it was he who brought the gift of myrrh.” (source)

The passage goes on to say that gold was a gift for a king; frankincense was a gift for a priest, and myrrh was a gift for one who would die. So much significance!

I would love to see the traditional names of the Wise Men used more. I discovered sort of recently that St. John Bosco’s full name was Giovanni Melchiorre (John Melchior), and there’s actor Balthazar Getty, and Caspar the Friendly Ghost, but otherwise I don’t know anyone with these names. Do any of you know anyone in real life with any of their names? I’d love to hear all the details! Have a very Happy Little Christmas!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

13 thoughts on “Happy feast of the Epiphany!

  1. I do know people with names of the wise men! I have a great grandfather (born in the 1890s I think) who was Kaspar or Kasper (not totally sure on spelling) and his first son was Caspar or Casper who always went by Cap. I don’t know why the difference of k vs c but I’m thinking since the younger was born in the US, it is the English version and assimilating was the prevailing attitude in America at the time to some extent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. St. Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Precious Blood order, was born on Epiphany and named for all three kings! Gaspar Melchior Balthazar del Bufalo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our first baby was lost to an early miscarriage, and Epiphany was a significant date in his/her short life so we named the baby Anna Melchior. I really love it and love remembering our baby that way!

    Liked by 1 person

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